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Mil­ton man’s dream of open­ing own busi­ness be­com­ing re­al­ity

The Queens County Advance - - FRONT PAGE - BY AETHNE HINCHLIFFE

Tri County Heat­ing & Cool­ing re­cently opened its doors for busi­ness in Mil­ton.

The man be­hind the busi­ness is Ritchie Lake, a red seal oil burner me­chanic and red seal re­frig­er­a­tion and air con­di­tioner me­chanic, who has lived in Queens County his whole life. He’s spent many years work­ing in Lunen­burg, Queens and Shelburne coun­ties with var­i­ous or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Lake is still busy get­ting the op­er­a­tion up and run­ning - he says he’s get­ting his signs and truck logo made – but it will in­clude a va­ri­ety of ser­vices for peo­ple along the South Shore.

“My busi­ness is go­ing to be ser­vic­ing oil fur­naces, boil­ers, mini splits, cen­tral home heat­ing sys­tems, ven­ti­la­tion sys­tems,” said Lake.

His ser­vices will in­clude sales and re­pairs, he added.

“A lot of the ser­vices that peo­ple in Queens County need, they have to get from (the) Bridge­wa­ter area, where I can save them some money be­cause I’m lo­cal,” said Lake, de­scrib­ing part of the rea­son he de­cided to open his busi­ness. “And I’ve al­ways wanted to.”

A long time ago, Lake worked as an elec­tri­cian with Steel and En­gine Prod­ucts Lim­ited. He says work­ing in the ship­yard in­dus­try was up and down. When he saw a job in the pa­per for an HVAC equip­ment in­staller, he ap­plied think­ing he would not get the job. In the end, he was hired.

From there, he says he went through the ap­pren­tice­ship pro­cesses, worked his hours and got his train­ing.

“I started in 1998 and just kept work­ing and sign­ing up for dif­fer­ent trades,” he said.

Open­ing his own busi­ness is some­thing he’s been think­ing about for the past five years. He al­most took the plunge to open a busi­ness three years ago, but de­cided the time wasn’t right then.

This will be Lake’s first step into run­ning a busi­ness. There are some chal­lenges ahead, he knows - get­ting the word out so peo­ple know some­one lo­cal has the skills they need is a key one, he says.

“My chal­lenge is to pro­vide an ex­cel­lent ser­vice for peo­ple to want to switch over to me,” he said.

But, Lake is also ex­cited about the op­por­tu­ni­ties. He says he likes to go and chat with peo­ple.

“I’m an em­pa­thetic per­son. I like to talk peo­ple,” he said. “I’m just look­ing for­ward to get­ting out in the pub­lic.”

The prod­ucts Lake’s busi­ness will sell are top qual­ity, he said. Some of the brands in­clude Len­nox, LG and Mit­subishi, which he says have good equip­ment with good war­ranties.

To help him with the busi­ness side of things, Lake says he’s been using the Aca­dia En­trepreneur­ship Cen­tre (AEC). Part of what the AEC does is pro­vide train­ing to in­di­vid­u­als, busi­nesses and not-for-prof­its.

“I’ve been tak­ing train­ing cour­ses with them now since Jan­uary,” said Lake.

That train­ing, he ex­plains, has been free.

“It’s been a big help and a re­ally good ser­vice,” he said.

Lake says he plans to be on-call 24-hours a day, and his rates will re­main the same in the evenings and on week­ends.

“I just want to be able to re­spond to the cus­tomers’ prob­lems as quickly as pos­si­ble,” he said.

Lake’s wife, Julie Wig­glesworth, will also be help­ing with the busi­ness by an­swer­ing phone calls, help­ing to dis­patch and do­ing some pa­per­work.

He says he and his wife are ex­cited. Lake adds be­cause the busi­ness is in his com­mu­nity, he feels as though he’s giv­ing back.

AETHNE HINCHLIFFE/QUEENS AD­VANCE

Ritchie Lake own and op­er­ates Tri County Heat­ing & Cool­ing.

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