One of Woodstock’s oldest businesses turned 100 this year.
Eric and Dawn Iversen bought Woodstock Heating in February 2016 from former owner Mike Gallagher. For Eric Iversen, who has been in the HVAC industry for 28 years, owning his own business was always a dream. When Gallagher approached him about the potential to purchase the business, he said he couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
After the couple purchased the business, Dawn Iversen reached out to former owners to piece together a history of ownership.
Woodstock Heating was started by Ernest W. Ebert in 1917, in a location on the south side of the Square. Ebert hired Robert Leanna in 1937. Leanna was just 17 when he started his career with Woodstock Heating, and ultimately ended up purchasing the business from Ebert in 1952. The business remained in the Leanna family for many years, and son Marvin Leanna took over managing the business in 1977. When Marvin Leanna retired, the business was sold to Gallagher, who was the lead serviceman at the time.
Honesty, good relationships and hard work are key to the business’ success, Dawn Iversen said. When she dug up history about the business, she spoke with the Leanna family about how they stayed successful for so long.
“Talking to the former owners about how so many of our customers have been loyal, I asked them, ‘How do you keep them?’,” she said. “She told me they are your friends, and that is how you treat them. So our philosophy now is the same as it has been, even 100 years ago.”
On one of the hottest weekends during the summer months of 2016, the business served customers during overtime hours but only billed their standard hourly rate.
“We did this because it was so hot out, and we weren’t able to get to everyone who called during the week,” Dawn Iversen said. “It’s not all about money all the time. At the end of the day, when you lay down your head at night, it’s not about money. Your kids are still going to get sick, your car is still going to break down. Isn’t it nice to know that at one place you’re not going to get taken advantage of?”
The Iversens are keeping with the tradition of giving back to the community in ways beyond customer service. Woodstock Heating sponsors the Little Miss Woodstock pageant, Woodstock Little League and Woodstock High School baseball. Dawn Iversen said one of her proudest moments was the first year the family participated in the Memorial Day parade representing the business.
“We were passing out water and popsicles, and our friends and family were helping us. I look back at that and it was probably one of the greatest moments of my life,” she said.
Woodstock Heating offers a range of heating, ventilation and air conditioning services including clean and check, hot water heaters, humidifiers, ductwork and installation of new systems.
The Iversens live in Woodstock with their two sons, David, 13, and Lucas, 10. Buddy, the family’s golden doodle, tags along to the office most days and makes himself comfortable in the shop, charming customers when they walk through the door.