Alan’s AC Service Gains National Recognition

Local maintenance company among the top 10 air conditioning dealers in the country

For 28 years, Alan’s Air Conditioning Service Inc. has served Plant City and other nearby Florida towns, providing a cool indoor atmosphere away from the sweltering heat.

This year, its maintenance earned it the Ruud Air Conditioning’s Pro Partner award for 2021. It is one of 10 air conditioning services nationwide to receive the accolade.

“We attribute a lot of that to having equipment,” said Brian Lewis, co-owner of Alan’s A/C Service. “People want to go somewhere where someone has the equipment to go ahead and settle in. We were one of the few that didn’t have a problem with that.”

The company has met all the performance criteria for Top Pro 2021 partners:

• 2021 product sales

• Total variable speed and/or inverter systems purchased

• Entrepreneur growth year over year

• Certifications and memberships

• Evaluation of online reviews

• Participation in the Ruud Pro partnership program

• Distributor assessment

Ferguson HVAC, a supplier and distributor for Alan’s A/C, worked with Ruud to reward the company.

Brian started doing air conditioning work at age 14 when his father, Alan, was working for a company. In 1994, Alan then established Alan’s A/C, which was based in his home in Plant City. After school or during summer vacation, Brian would help his father with installations. His grandfather, who was a retired TECO employee, also worked with the company and helped with the electrical side of operations.

From the start, word of mouth was the best kind of promotion they could use, Brian said.

“My dad started working for many churches right from the start,” he said. “That’s how he was able to grow his business without having to spend a lot of money on advertising.”

While in college, he worked at Publix and saw it as a potential career opportunity, having no interest in air conditioning work. When that plan didn’t pan out the way he wanted, Brian turned to a more blue-collar line of work with construction.

“With the construction industry, you’re often laid off waiting for the next job,” he said. “Each time I was laid off, my father kept trying to grow the business. He would work me until I got another construction job.

While the air conditioning business was a steady job for Brian, he was reluctant to come on board full time. The construction jobs he got gave him a more substantial income than his father’s business, he said.

However, Alan was able to put things into perspective for him.

“Maybe I can’t pay you now, but I can teach you a trade (where) you’ll always have a job, you’ll always be employed,” Brian recalled, having told his father. “Whether you take this business in a day or start your own business, you’ll actually have a craft that you can take with you throughout your life.”

Brian then decided to pursue a full-time position with the company.

In 2013 Brian bought the business from Alan and started running it with his wife Tiffany.

“Using Plant City, our hometown, as a foundation has allowed us to provide more services and reach outside of Plant City into nearby communities,” Tiffany said.

Alan’s air conditioning gradually began working throughout Tampa Bay and eventually expanded beyond this area.

“We have clients who either have a lot of rentals in an area and they use us here, and they want to continue using us, or we have investor clients who are basically doing a bunch of renovations,” Brian said.

To accommodate the growing customer base and inventory, Brian and Tiffany had removed the business from Alan’s home and moved to the former property of Bell’s Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, owned by Charlie Bell.

Charlie came to the office occasionally to check on his new occupants and offer his help.

“We were very fortunate to have his wisdom and guidance,” Tiffany said. “It reflects the kind of community we live in to have another business owner come in to mentor us and help us.”

As business continued to boom, the company moved to a Mercantile Court property in Plant City. It was about 5,500 square feet, which Brian and Tiffany said would be all the adequate space needed.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the air conditioning company was able to roll with the punches given that it provided service that would be needed with or without the pandemic. Its excess inventory kept them well stocked with equipment, while other businesses struggled.

Alan’s A/C began to distribute products that other establishments lacked and began to expand.

Amid the pandemic, the company was giving away indoor air quality giveaways with items like air cleaners and carbon air filtration systems.

It has since moved to its current property on Alexander Street. It is 15,000 square feet with a much larger warehouse.

Alan’s AC now has 25 employees and up to 20 company vehicles. It also added new services such as insulation work, duct cleaning and dryer duct cleaning, with plans to integrate plumbing in the coming months.

It was a step that Brian and Tiffany decided to take seeing the demand for other types of work outside of air conditioning repair or installation.

Many of their new hires may be guys in their twenties or fresh out of high school. As his father once told him, Brian explains to them that he can teach them a trade that they can use for the rest of their lives.

“We have a saying here: We do it the Alan way.”