Family owned and operated . . . West Coast places service first!
Customers of West Coast Refrigeration and Heating don't need to see a fancy showroom; they need service and service is what Mike Silbaugh and his crews provide.
In business for 29 years, the Holmes Beach based business was originally known as Coastal Air Conditioning. It bacame West Coast Refrigeration and Heating in 1972 and Mike and his wife Mary, bought it in 1985.
Mike and his crew of five technicians keep busy servicing old units and installing new ones. All of their new units come with a 10-year warranty. His crew continues to learn the business, attending schools and classes and updating their knowledge and skills.
While keeping up on new products and services, his philosophy remains based on old-fashioned ideals.
There is no more unhappy customer than one whose household is wilting because the air conditionaer can't be fixed.
"Our people will work until the job is done, even if they're there until 8 or 9 o'clock at night," he said. "We can't leave a customer without air."
Although their headquarters at 5347 Gulf Drive is a working office, it is still a magnet for friends and neighbors. In fact, all they need is a large pickle barrel and a wood stove to remind one of an old general store. It's part of his old-fashioned philosophy.
Past and current customers are secure in knowing that everything West Coast does on their units is kept on record in the computer system. That is a bonus for part-time residents.
Mike has a list of advice to those residents who leave their property for long periods of time. It includes turning off the water to the washer, unplugging the water heater and other things to help prevent disaster while the home is vacant. There is one peice of advice he considers paramount.
"Make sure there is somebody here who can check on the house at least once a week," he said. "That prevents a small water leak or some other annoyance from becoming an expensive problem."
West Coast Refrigeration has been around a long time. It is a successful mixture of keeping up with the times while retaining the Island friendliness that makes it a pleasure to do business. Mike and Mary know that above all, there is one thing they have to take care of.
"The customer," he said. "This is a service industry and if you don't take care of the customer, you don't stay in business."
By Tom Wright
The Anna Maria Island Sun - December 12th, 2001.