Chamber Chat - Comfort First Heating and Cooling

Mar 05

By Meg Moss


The Chamber Banquet sell out just a month ago showed that we have continuity and momentum, and we need to keep it. We need to collectively market ourselves to attract businesses and families and figure out ways to grow our businesses. It takes everyone’s efforts. In the words of the Chamber Small Business Advocacy Chairman Doug Gay, “One job created can create one home sold – one customer for insurance – one customer for clothing shopping, and so on.” We’re all in this together. A lot of progress is being made. We must continue to invest in ourselves. “Our growth is a marathon – not a sprint. We’ve got a lot of momentum, and we need to continue on this path.”


Just one example of a business in Sanford that is growing is Comfort First Heating and Cooling. They opened shop just six years ago in 2011, and have already expanded their facilities and number of employees many times.


In 2011, owners Art Harmon and Wed McLeod started the business with one technician, and “a lot of faith” according to Harmon. Both owners had experience in the HVAC business, and Harmon had a paint contracting business of his own in the past. 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. Harmon said that with hard work, a lot of effort, trying their best to make the right decisions, and surrounding themselves with the right people has made them a success.


Almost immediately after starting Comfort First, they began getting contracts in Sanford, Raleigh and Fayetteville. Over the past six years, 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. “Sanford is our hometown” said McLeod, “We truly appreciate the welcome that we have received during our first years in business.” 


Comfort First started with 400 square feet of space, then rented an additional 1,000 square feet, and again had to lease another 1,000 square feet as they continued to grow. And starting tomorrow, Comfort First will start operating out of their brand new 15,000 square foot facility they have built at 7001 Lark Lane, just along US 1 in Sanford. About one-third of that space is for offices, one-third for warehouse space, and one-third is available for their growth.


During peak season, Comfort First technicians and professionals are in 200 homes per day across the state. This requires a staff of 54 employees – which includes technicians who work as assistants, techs who can perform maintenance, and those junior and senior technicians who can diagnose problems. “It’s a great career path.” Harmon said. He also said “we’d hire twelve more HVAC technicians tomorrow if we could find them.” In fact, they’ve hired a recruiter to find trained technicians so they can expand their business. The future business plans are to have ten locations. You can visit if you are interested in employment options.


Comfort First shares a few questions you should ask your HVAC service provider before having work done on your home. Ask what makes them qualified to offer their services, and do they have warranties or guarantees? If not, this could be a red flag. Also ask how many jobs they have performed, and if they offer after hours assistance.


It takes everyone for a community to move forward – to continue the momentum we currently have in our business community. Congratulations to Comfort First Heating and Air for the completion of their new headquarters in Sanford. Tomorrow is the first official day in their “new digs”.


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