Over four generations, one of St. Cloud’s family businesses has evolved from a small town hardware store to a major heating, ventilation and air conditioning contractor.
What began as Kohlman Hardware, Heating and Tinning is known today as D. R. Kohlman, Inc., a service-minded business that handles heating, ventilating and air conditioning jobs of all kinds and sizes.
In April of this year, owner Douglas Kohlman and his staff will be completing the 100th year of the business. From its location, D. R. Kohlman, Inc. proudly serves customers in a 50-mile business radius covering primarily Fond du Lac, Calumet, Sheboygan and Manitowoc counties.
The business got its start in 1913, when Frank Kohlman purchased a small town hardware store and founded Kohlman Hardware, Heating and Tinning.
Frank’s son, Herman, and grandson, Robert Kohlman, succeeded him, with great-grandson Douglas operating the business today.
Douglas recently celebrated his 44th year in the business, dating back to his official business start with his father in 1970. That was a landmark year for D. R. Kohlman, Inc. as the family business turned its focus to heating ventilation and air-conditioning. Doug’s experience actually dates back to his younger years, as he recalls also working with his grandfather.
D. R. Kohlman, Inc. employs a staff of nine full-time and two part-time employees with a wealth of experience.
In addition to Doug’s 44 years in the business, project manager and sheet metal mechanic Dick Fuhrmann has been with the company for the past 40 years.
Dave Kalkofen has 20 years with D. R. Kohlman and serves as the head service person and refrigeration specialist.
Steamfitter Jason Wagner has been with the company for 15 years.
“We have seen just about every kind of job there is to see in this business,” Kohlman said. “That experience is pretty important to us and to our customers. It helps us bring the complete package of services to the projects we do.”
Experience rings true to the main focus of D. R. Kohlman, Inc.—providing the best possible service to its customers.
“That’s what we pride ourselves on here,” Doug said, “and having the experience helps us give the best service we can.”
Along with good service, D. R. Kohlman, Inc. believes in good products, working with customers to find the right products to complete a project.
“We look to install the best possible, most efficient systems for our customers,” Kohlman said.
D. R. Kohlman, Inc. is capable of working with all sizes of jobs, from the smallest residential project to complex commercial and design/build needs.
The staff at D. R. Kohlman, Inc. gives the company great on-site resources to complete all aspects of the job. Those facilities include an in-house sheet-metal shop, high-tech, state-of-the-art tools and equipment and top-notch staff which are all part of the D. R. Kohlman equation.
Kohlman emphasized that the people who try to skimp on the front end by using lesser heating, ventilating and air conditioning equipment often face unexpected costs in the form of early replacements and hidden energy and efficiency costs.
“We look at the energy savings and the paybacks on the investments people are making,” Kohlman noted. “We also want to be sure that the systems are sized properly for the home or business.”
D. R. Kohlman, Inc. is one of the area’s premier geothermal heating experts.
To them, the technology and expertise dates back 30 years, when they were first installing systems in the greater New Holstein area.
A moratorium on gas heating in those days forced some contractors into installing fuel oil furnaces. Geothermal was just becoming an option. The systems were open-looped in those days, and much more suited to rural dwellings, since water had to be drawn from a well and dispersed onto land adjacent to the home.
Today, geothermal loops and heat pumps are great ways to save anywhere from 30 percent to 70 percent on energy costs for heating, cooling and hot water needs.
Currently, D. R. Kohlman, Inc. is involved in a unique geothermal project in the Fox Valley. The project is channeling heat from the Fox River to serve 36 condominium units in a four-story housing complex.
D. R. Kohlman, Inc. offers standard heating, ventilating and air conditioning services, but has a few special programs as well:
n Whole house ductcleaning—D. R. Kohlman has the capability to powervac all your heating ducts. Not only will they rid your system of dust and unwanted objects, they can also provide duct sanitizing to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria.
n HVAC systemmaintenance—Yearly maintenance programs help reduce costly repairs and extend the life of your system.
n Preferred CustomerClub—You can join the D. R. Kohlman Preferred Customer Club for a low annual charge. Maintenance contracts provide peace of mind that your heating or cooling systems will be able to do their jobs effectively.
n 24-hour emergencyservice—imply call D. R. Kohlman at 920-999-4631, and one of the company’s friendly service technicians will be on their way to help get your system back on line.