Building a successful business one customer at a time while also treating people the way you want to be treated.
These sound like simple concepts, but that’s exactly how Chuck Middleton and his former wife, Anita, envisioned the path to their business’s success when they launched Middleton Heating & Air 40 years ago. It was certainly a lofty goal for the couple, one that started in the carport of their Bryant home on Boone Road.
“My dad grew up in the industry,” said Mark Middleton, Chuck and Anita’s son and Managing Director of Middleton, Inc. “He and my mother decided they were going to start their own business with a truck and a pair of snips. So, with a dream and a prayer, he started the company one day.”
“He began doing small residential jobs and learned the service side of the trade at night with a family friend who owned a refrigeration company,” he added.
To describe the company’s beginnings as modest would be a dramatic understatement, and Chuck’s first workforce was made up of his wife and their three children. “It was Mom, my older brother, my sister and myself,” Mark said. “We worked with him at night and on weekends, utilizing our only family vehicle as a work truck.”
But Mark Middleton remembers those days fondly and says the example of his parents’ dedication, sacrifice and determination remain the foundation of the company today and the value system he and his siblings live by.
“There were many sleepless nights,” Mark said. “I’ve literally seen the man sweat, cry and bleed to get there. It takes so many sacrifices to build a business like this, but there are incredible benefits. We’ve been truly blessed to be successful. It’s really by the grace of God that we made it to where we are.”
Because of the tenets and principals set forth from day one, Middleton Heat & Air has grown to serve all of Central Arkansas as the leader in the HVAC industry with a workforce of more than 250 employees. In addition to their home office in Saline County, the company has offices in Hot Springs and Conway and is licensed for commercial work in 12 additional states.
“The initial vision played a role in our growth, but it really all comes down to our amazing employees,” Mark said. “They are top notch and embody what my mom and dad stood for as they built the business. They approach our mission with integrity and always do the right thing.”
Among the Middleton Heat & Air team are highly-trained technicians, who tackle customer challenges in the field every day, rain or shine.
“One the interesting things about our industry is that we specialize in our customers’ indoor comfort, so most of the time when customers call, they’re having an issue,” Mark said. “Our crews often work in extreme conditions, but we remain committed to always arriving on time, providing professional and accurate service, and as my dad’s mantra states, ‘If everything is not as it should be, I’ll take care of that!’ We live by that statement and apply it to every customer experience.”
To make sure a home’s heating and air system is working at optimal efficiency, Middleton Heat & Air offers their HVAC 22-point maintenance tune-up bi-annually that promotes energy efficiency, extends the life of the equipment and results in fewer breakdowns.
Middleton technicians that are performing these tasks are all EPA certified and are capable of working on any brand of equipment.
“As technology continues to advance, our service technicians are dealing with increasingly sophisticated products,” Mark said. “They contain computer components and high-end motherboards within the systems.
“We look for high quality people with strong character to bring onto our team, and the majority of them live right here in the county,” he added. “We train them in every aspect of the business including our core philosophy. We have a school on-site to train and prepare them for the different types of HVAC systems, so we know they can handle any challenge they may see on the job.”
As Middleton Heat & Air has continued growing through the years, one thing hasn’t changed – The Middleton family’s commitment to Saline County and its success.
“We’ve been here since the mid-60’s,” Mark said. “The company started in Bryant and the primary company operations have remained here. We, as a family, were raised and educated in Saline County. We remain involved in the community because these are the things that are important to us.”
Still, as Mark Middleton reflects on those simple beginnings, consistent growth and possible future expansion for his family’s company, one word and one vision always comes to mind. “Grateful. Very simply, that’s the word,” he said.
“I feel an enormous responsibility to carry out the vision my parents set forth for the company, and to continue to take care of the generations of customers that have relied on us to provide their family’s indoor comfort. Forty years in business is certainly a milestone, but our greatest satisfaction comes from taking care of our customers. Frankly, it is the only reason we are here.”