Friday, April 18, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Blake’s Heating and Air

Mark Blake and son Brody, 18, both donning the Blake's Heating  & Air work shirts, are ready to serve the community this summer with air-conditioning needs.
Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

Summer has arrived, and Blake’s Heating and Air vans are out in force.

Owner Mark Blake says that when the temperature hits 98 degrees, calls shoot up from about 150 per month to more than 650.

“We’re rockin’ right now,” Blake says.

Blake’s father Mike started the company in 1973, after working on air conditioners for UC Davis.

Mark started working for his dad when he was 9 years old. The Davis High School graduate returned to Blake’s after completing Universal Technical Institute in Phoenix.

Though he’d always been around the business, it wasn’t an easy decision to stay in it.

“This is a very, very hard job. I’ve got guys on customers’ roofs right now where it’s 148 degrees,” Blake says.

Mark took over Blake’s when his father retired in 1996. The business has grown into a highly trusted enterprise in Yolo County.

In 2006, Blake’s was awarded the Circle of Excellence Award from Lennox, given to the top 40 of Lennox’s 7,800 businesses nationwide.

“Customers know we’ll do the best we can, and stand by every single thing we do,” Blake said. “They know we’ve been here a long time. They respect that, and we respect them. We wouldn’t be here without them.”

Mark appreciates the loyalty Yolo County has for his family-owned business.

There’s a strong camaraderie among Blake’s crew, and many of his employees are longtime veterans of the business. General manager Brian Sogard and service manager Tom Butler have been with the business for 26-plus years; installation foreman Ron Sleuter and senior service technician Mark Gidding, have been with Blake’s for 21 years.

Mark’s son Brody, 18, signed on to work with the installation crew this summer.

When he was younger, Brody was featured with his dad in Blake’s Heating & Air commercials. But now, he wears the official blue shirt that the rest of the crew has worn since the business opened in 1973.

Mark says it was surreal seeing his son wear the Blake’s shirt — a shirt he had put on when he started working with his dad 32 years ago.

Blake’s wants to keep service dependable and prices reasonable — Blake’s customers pay hourly rates for labor and materials only. Other companies charge flat rates plus commission.

“You don’t want me to come out to your house with that price list,” Blake said. “Our guys don’t work off commission. We’re not selling cars. We’re in the comfort business.”

Visit Blake’s Heating & Air on the Web at www.blakeshvac.com.

Enterprise staff

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