By Christine Walters

Triplicte columnist

Frank Ormonde and his wife, Cecilia, have owned and operated Frank's Heating and Refrigeration for 17 years. Over the years, the company has changed and grown to meet the needs of the community.

Q: What do you do and how long have you been doing it?

We've been doing this since 1989. We basically handle all aspects of commercial/industrial refrigeration, and heating for light commercial and residential purposes. We specialize in high efficiency equipment and we pride ourselves in service after the sale. We install and service heat pumps, furnaces and wood or gas fireplaces. In the lobby we have several fireplace models on display, because it's something that our community needs.

Q: What inspired you to go into this line of work?

A: Need! I was dead set on construction upon graduating from Del Norte High School, only to find out a year later I couldn't get a job at minimum wage. I'd been working after school, before school, and summers for Del Norte Ice. They liked me and I liked them. They offered me a chance to teach me refrigeration if I would stick around. I could see the direction I wanted to go wasn't working out too well. So I jumped at the opportunity. I studied at night with the plant engineer and then I would go to work during the day.

Q: How has your business changed over the years?

A: I could see that my future in cold storage supporting the fishing industry was not going where I wanted to go. I worked at Del Norte Ice for 22 years and I delivered a lot of ice over Del Norte and Curry counties. But I could see that the future was not there. So I started building my own business. It took me eight years to build it because I didn't have the capital to do it. So I built it part-time, after 5, weekends and took vacations to do the big jobs.

Q: What business decision or action would you change if you could do it again?

A: Jump sooner! I totally underestimated the need of our community.

Q: Is your family involved in the day-to-day operation of your business?

A: Absolutely. My two kids have had a big part in it as they grew up. They used to ride around with me in the evening to do work. And from there, Jennifer worked in the office and Frank worked in the field doing heating install. My wife, Cecilia, came to work for us two years ago. She's running the service department at this time.

Q: Who are your competitors?

A: Competitor is a bad word for me. We're all trying to make a living. As far as who else does the type of work that we do, I don't think any of them think of it the same way we do. Chimney Kraft installs heating systems. There's nobody in Crescent City that does refrigeration except us.

Q: How do you define success for your business?

A: Working extremely hard to meet the community's needs. That's all I've done. Fulfill the need.

Reach Christine Walters at 954-7703.