I tell the story of Ray, a fellow I knew who had a business that was into its third generation and the fourth was working in the shop. I had known the owner for many years; in fact, I knew his dad as well. Ray ran ads in the local newspapers, had a shop on Main Street with a tin man outside and knowing Ray and his dad, they had never disappointed a customer. Every year, Ray and I would sit and talk about his promotion budget how he was going to spend it during the coming year. Newspapers, the Yellow Pages, billboards and the local Little League baseball team were all ways Ray spent his co-op and non-co-op dollars.
After we had finished our annual promotions discussion, I asked Ray what was inside all the cardboard boxes in the next room. He said they were the job folders of all the company's customers. The 12-ft. x 12-ft. room with an 8-ft. ceiling was filled from top to bottom with these temporary file boxes. After looking in one box, we decided that there were more than 15,000 homes that had been serviced or had a new installation completed by this hvac company during the past 75 years.