REMCO’s Commercial Refrigeration Philosophy: 'Never Disappoint'

June 1, 2011
For this edition of RST Contractor Insights, Contracting spoke with Ed Mattos and Jai Hoover of REMCO, Inc., Allentown, PA.

The REMCO company name stands for Refrigeration, Electrical, Mechanical, Contractor. REMCO is a full-service mechanical firm, but supermarket refrigeration has always been its specialty. Based in Allentown PA, with another office in Mechanicsburg, REMCO's managers expanded the company over time to include industrial refrigeration, and residential and commercial HVAC services.

REMCO has been employee-owned since 2002. Among its longest-serving employees are President Ed Mattos and Vice President Jai Hoover, both of whom have worked at REMCO for their entire HVACR careers. They made their way up the ranks, and are happy to call REMCO their professional home. REMCO employs 123 people in its refrigeration service and construction divisions. Of that number, 30 refrigeration service and 25 construction employees work out of the Allentown branch. The Mechanicsburg office employs 28 refrigeration technicians and 40 construction experts. REMCO serves a total of 400 supermarket customers, including all the major names in the state, such as Stop N Shop, Giant Foods, Weis Markets, and BJ Wholesale Clubs. A major convenience store account is the Wawa chain of convenience stores.

Can't Let Up a Minute
REMCO has enjoyed a great increase in supermarket remodeling projects, especially for its big-box customers. The extra construction helped it endure a steep decline in service work. The company has managed to avoid any workforce reductions since 2009.

Mattos and Hoover say REMCO faces a vastly more competitive atmosphere than it did a decade ago.

"There are more customer demands, and it's magnified by the challenges in dealing with the economy, which still continues in a down mode," Mattos says. "Customers are educated in the process of negotiating and investigating systems technology. In addition, the supermarket industry itself is competitive, operating on small margins. The need to save in various areas of overhead trickles down to the contractors."

Through all of its dealings with customers, REMCO is dedicated to an air-tight service philosophy:

"Never disappoint a customer," says Hoover. "The customer is Number 1, and we do what we have to do to satisfy the customer. We're looking for long term relationships, and we want to give customers the best possible service that anyone can provide. That's our goal and our core value. If we don't take care of the customer, somebody else will," Mattos says.

As with many contractors, green has become the color of REMCO's world.

"The big box stores and larger chains are driving the type of equipment they're going to use, and how green they're going to be," Hoover says. REMCO provides the solution, and uses its experience with those larger installations to provide its refined equipment expertise to smaller independent customers, who also need advice and are equally energy conscious.

"For example, we"re working with an independent store that's going in the direction of CO2/glycol, LED lighting, and many other energy efficient options, to reach green store status." Hoover says.

REMCO is an authorized Hussmann dealer, which provides it with access to customized green solutions.

"When negotiating new projects, REMCO's experience as a refrigeration counselor helps it address customers' concerns over first cost, and reach mutually beneficial solutions. Many customers have true budget restrictions and can't always do everything they'd like to do. But, we hope we can provide them with what they need, so they can be successful with the program," Mattos says.

The customer education process includes a comparison of lifecycle costs against first cost.

"With an independent, you're looking at an average equipment life of at least 15 years. So, we need to make sure they’re not cutting things out that will cost them more on the maintenance side, which could ultimately exceed the upfront cost," Hoover explains.

"If they're going to cut out critical things that will hurt them down the road, we’ll try to steer them in another direction," Mattos adds.

With REMCO's team at the wheel, those customers are going to arrive where they need to be.

Both REMCO locations have an in-house trainer, for new technicians, apprentices, and experienced techs.

About the Author

Terry McIver | Content Director - CB

A career publishing professional, Terence 'Terry' McIver has served three diverse industry publications in varying degrees of responsibility since 1987, and worked in marketing communications for a major U.S. corporation.He joined the staff of Contracting Business magazine in April 2005.

As director of content for Contracting Business, he produces daily content and feature articles for CB's 38,000 print subscribers and many more Internet visitors. He has written hundreds, if not two or three, pieces of news, features and contractor profile articles for CB's audience of quality HVACR contractors. He can also be found covering HVACR industry events or visiting with manufacturers and contractors. He also has significant experience in trade show planning.