In 2007, Morris Mechanical was honored to be featured in a US Chamber Magazine story, as part of the Chamber’s Member Success InSight series. That story is reprinted in its entirety here.
Success Insight: A Chamber Member’s Story — Keeping Cool in a Tight Economy
Harry Howe (left) and Phillip Latini, owners of Morris Mechanical, have seen an increase in orders for reconditioned equipment.
While many companies are making cuts or putting expansion plans on hold, Harry Howe, president of Morris Mechanical Sales and Service Inc., in Clinton, Massachusetts, has seen his business volume increase over the past couple of years. The company, which sells and services new and reconditioned industrial refrigeration cooling and chilling towers, is thriving by changing the focus of its business to adapt to the down economy and by tapping new markets.
As many industrial companies that have old cooling units choose to avoid the high cost of replacing them with new units, Morris Mechanical offers less costly reconditioned units with a full warranty. The reconditioning component of Morris Mechanical now makes up 30%–40% of the company’s annual sales. “We got into the reconditioned market because the units are available, and we can help out customers with equipment that is less costly,” Howe says.
The company accepts used cooling units that it can recondition in exchange for new or larger units. “It’s like buying a new car. We’ll take the existing system in a trade, bring it back to the shop, recondition it, and put it back out on the market.” Because of the recession, there has been no shortage of equipment for Morris Mechanical to recondition and resell. “I get auctions that come across my desk every day,” says Howe. “It’s frightening to see how many companies are going out of business.”
Howe also attributes the success of Morris Mechanical to being able to identify new customers in different countries and different industries. “The account base we had 25 years ago obviously isn’t the same today, and that’s made us go out and expand across the country and around the world.”
The company has installed industrial units in China and recently shipped a unit to Russia. And Howe began working with a U.S. company that builds ice skating and hockey rinks. “For some reason, this industry hasn’t slowed down. We’ve already shipped two units this year—one for a rink in Lake Placid, New York, and another to North Carolina.”
Success, however, can bring challenges. Howe is having difficulty hiring two or three service technicians and installers. “It’s a very difficult trade, and there’s a major shortage of qualified technicians—it’s a dying art,” Howe adds. “A very high percentage of technicians are baby boomers or older than 50, and the number of people coming into the field is limited.” Howe plans to continue working with the area vocational schools, which have been a reliable source of skilled employees.
To share your Success InSight, e-mail Greg Galdabini at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202-463-5563.
Copyright 2007 – U.S. Chamber of Commerce