Written By: M.T. Decker
Photos By: Josh Triggs
Michael and Susan Johnson have always had a strong sense of community and together they instilled that sense in their son, Jason. Growing up in the Panhandle wasn’t always easy, but it was this sense of community and faith that saw them through.
Michael Johnson had been working in heating and air conditioning for well over 20 years by the time Jason started college in 1989, so it was no surprise that Jason began installing heating and air conditioning systems to pay for his tuition at then Shepherd College.
Working side by side with his father installing systems for home and business owners alike, he learned not only the trade skills of the job, he learned that helping your customers was just good business. Even then, he was learning that the heating system and the building were only two parts of the business.
The most important part of the business was the people they were installing the systems for. It was this belief – this attention to the customers – that led them to become a full time business in Berkeley County.
Jason recalls that they were weighing the pros and cons of becoming a full time operation. It would mean relying on one source of income, putting their money and hearts into something bigger than a paycheck. It was a big decision, one they did not take lightly, but it was their customers, their community that tipped the scales.
Their customers wanted them to go full time. They wanted Michael and Jason to be there to install and service their heating and air conditioning systems. It was that support—-that sense of community— -that gave them the resolve to make that leap of faith and form a full time operation.
So, in 1996 Michael and Jason Johnson——father and son—— started doing business as Johnson and Johnson Heating and Air Conditioning.
In the beginning, it was Michael and Jason working as a team out of Michael’s home. They would do the installations and servicing while Susan did the bookkeeping and clerical work.
As the company grew one employee at a time, the business moved to its new location on Stribling Road, with the business office remaining in Michael’s home until it moved next door.
The company continued to grow; as it did, having the office, shop, and warehouse in three different locations was becoming problematic: they needed to be under one roof.
With this in mind, in 2012 they purchased a piece of property in the Ridgefield Business Park off of Route 9 in Martinsburg, WV. Knowing what they wanted and what they needed, Jason began designing their new building. Having been certified as a BPI Energy Auditor, Jason had a hand in every part of the design. This building was not going to be just a place of doing business: it was a living, breathing example of their services.
Not only is the building designed to support their business as it continues to grow, it is an example of their workmanship and skill. The building was designed from the ground up to be part of the system. At its heart is an energy efficient geothermal heating and cooling system that Michael refers to as ‘his baby.’
It was a long time coming and in 2015 the building was ready to occupy and Johnson and Johnson was once again under the same roof.
From the beginning as the company continued to grow as a business, Michael and Jason made sure it remained a part of the community.
Jason became a BPI Certified Energy Auditor. Now, when he goes out to do an estimate he’s looking at more than just square footage and looking at units designed a particular building. He looks at the building, its design, and its needs.
“Sometimes the issue isn’t the heating system,” Jason will tell you. “You have to look at the building itself.”
In one case, he came back with the recommendation that the customer add insulation to the building and see if that took care of the problem. It did.
While he lost a sale that day, Jason knows that if you look after the customers’ concerns, they come back.
It is why Johnson and Johnson focuses on a fair price, a quality job, and servicing not only what you sell, but the customer’s needs. Each time they finish a job, they review what they have done and ask themselves, ‘where can we improve, how could we do better next time?’
It is part of why they feel so strongly about education and giving back to the community.
You educate your customers, you see to the education and training of your team and you help with the education of the future.
It is why Jason Jonson serves on the advisory boards at James Rumsey Technical Institute and Blue Ridge Community and Technical College, and it is why members of the Johnson and Johnson Heating and Air Conditioning family attend classes in renewable and efficient energy sources.
“This business is about innovation,” Jason says, “and keeping up with the times is part of staying in business.”
Jason loves working in his own community and has a lot of friends who started out as customers. It is one of the things he strives to keep, as the company grows. He knows the importance of that relationship and trust is built through seeing to his customer’s needs, rather than just selling them a system.
When doing an estimate, he tries to offer them three options——good, better and best. He is quick to point out that the biggest factor in the fit is the people and their needs.
He wants his customers to have the best fit for them——for their home or business——and he works with them to get them what they want. While they have their preferred systems, Johnson and Johnson will always look at others, if that is what the customer wants.
As Jason puts it, “we are here for our customers,” and that is something they hold onto as they grow. It is why they continue to grow.
Looking to the future, Johnson and Johnson is part of a newly formed program run by the State of West Virginia through a grant from the Department of Energy, where they will be testing homes in West Virginia for heating efficiency.
They have also strengthened their ties to the community by joining the Chamber of Commerce and partnering with Century 21 as part of their “Move In” program, as well as being an associate member of the Eastern Panhandle Builder’s Association.
They have come a long way from a part time operation working out of Michael and Susan’s home, but through it all they have worked to keep that sense of family, that feeling of camaraderie and community with each new employee and each new customer. They are not just a business licensed to work in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, they are part of the Eastern Panhandle and the Four State Area community. They invite everyone to come join them in celebrating their ‘Grand Opening’ at 124 Reliance Road, Martinsburg, West Virginia on April 21st: a celebration 27 years in the making.
Johnson and Johnson Heating and Air Conditioning can be found on-line at: http://www.jandjcomfort.com/