Chamber Chat: Chamber Banquet, Part 3

Feb 25

By Meg Moss 


This is the third and final article in a series highlighting the community and business award winners honored the night of the Chamber Annual Membership Banquet, which was held on February 6th.  

This week, I’ll be highlighting the Small Business of the Year, Comfort First Heating and Cooling, and the winner of the Chairman’s Choice Award, Kelly Hazen Klug.

In 2010, the co-owners of Comfort First, Art Harmon and Wes McLeod, started the business with one technician, and “a lot of faith”. The co-owners had 30 years combined experience in the line of work, but they were embarking on a business venture at a time when most people were telling them that it was a terrible time to start a business. But with hard work, a lot of effort, trying their best to make the right decisions, and surrounding themselves with the right people, they are achieving success. They opened shop just seven years ago, and have already expanded their facilities and number of employees many times.

Almost immediately after starting the business, they began getting contracts in Sanford, Raleigh and Fayetteville. Since opening, they have expanded to the Outer Banks and Charlotte as well. But they are staying true to their Sanford roots, and have their headquarters here in Lee County.

The business started with 400 square feet of space, then they rented an additional 1,000 square feet, and again had to lease another 1,000 square feet as they continued to grow. And then in March of 2017, they started operating out of their brand new 15,000 square foot facility they built just along US 1. They have proved their confidence in the area by building their new corporate office here in Sanford.

During peak season, the professionals who work for this business are in in 200 homes per day across the state, and the business continues to grow. In fact, they’ve hired a recruiter to find trained technicians so they can expand their business even further.

The Chairman’s Choice Award is awarded to an individual who has been most helpful to the Chamber chairman during their tenure. While Doug Gay has been at the helm of the Chamber, Kelly Klug has served as the Chair of the Education and Workforce Development Committee, which has been busy developing a resource guide for employers. But Gay went on to say that Klug has been a trusted friend of the Chamber for many years. She headed up the Ambassador program for many years, leading a large group of volunteers in their efforts to further to mission of the Chamber. He also spoke of her accomplishment of developing the AM Buzz approximately seven years ago, which is now a quite successful monthly morning networking event. Klug continues to emcee that event to this day.

This concludes the three part series highlighting the local award winners recognized at the Chamber Annual Membership Banquet. Congratulations to all that were honored! 

The full list of local winners are the Business Advocate of the Year honorees, Greg and Nancy Adams, owners of the Piggly Wiggly stores in Broadway and Sanford; the winner of the Chamber Dedicated Service Award, Jerry Pedley, the owner of Mertek Solutions; the Small Business of the Year Award winner, Comfort First Heating and Cooling, owned by Art Harmon and Wes McLeod; and the winner of the Chairman’s Choice Award, Kelly Hazen Klug, owner of Lighthouse Documentation and Training.


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