Case Studies

ABC Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Inc.

Everything from X, Y and Z in commercial cooling and energy management

When some of the Northeast’s largest supermarket chains and convenience stores need commercial and industrial refrigeration and HVAC solutions, ABC Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Inc. (ABC) is the one to call. Since 1950, the New York-based company has been delivering skilled professionalism in refrigeration systems, display coolers and freezers, as well as floral and specialty merchandisers for a range of retail facilities.

ABC originated in 1950 with three founding partners in Syracuse, N.Y. “The partners were refrigeration mechanics by trade with a supermarket background and they decided to go into business together, but needed another mechanic and that was me,” recalls Carmen Ligoci, now president and CEO of ABC. “I came to work for ABC in June 1969, one year after the company officially incorporated.”

Young talent ignites a growth spurt

As one of the original founders neared retirement, Ligoci had just returned from his fourth year in the Navy and was working for Central New York Refrigeration. “I was the company’s first employee outside of the founding partners,” he reveals. “Although I was 25 years younger than them, I brought the energy and enthusiasm needed to really get ABC off the ground.”

Ligoci went on to purchase ABC only a few years later in 1976 when the company’s concentration intensified on commercial and supermarket refrigeration installations and service. “I began to slowly hire more and more and I personally trained all of the new employees,” he recounts.

By 2006, with nearly 125 people on staff, ABC outgrew its original office and moved to a 60,000-square-foot building in eastern Syracuse where the company still resides, but now with more than 170 employees. “The industry has changed a lot over the years and we’ve been able to grow alongside it,” adds Ligoci.

ABC now spans the Northeast, from Buffalo, N.Y., to Maine, and from the Canadian border all the way down to North Carolina. “We have technicians throughout the New England states and in Pennsylvania, and we’re able to cover Boston, Providence and numerous other cities on the East Coast,” notes Ligoci.

Keeping the cool when things go bad

ABC has grown to support some of the biggest names in retail in the Northeast, from Hannaford Brothers to Walmart, Tops and Aldi’s to Wilson Farms and 7-Eleven. “We used to support names like ACME, P&C, Loblaw’s and others that have since moved out of the area, but we still work exclusively in the commercial and industrial markets,” shares Ligoci.

The company’s longevity ensures longstanding, loyal clients. “We work closely with Walmart and BJ’s Wholesale stores; they are major customers,” continues Ligoci. “We’ve installed a healthy percentage of the refrigeration systems for Walmart in the Northeast. And we also have an HVAC contract in the works for a 100,000-square-foot storage facility for a turnkey processor in upstate New York.”

Aside from big-box retailers, ABC maintains contracts with hundreds of smaller convenience stores. “7-Eleven is probably our biggest chain retailer right now,” adds Ligoci.

To ensure systems keep running smoothly, ABC offers full-service, scheduled maintenance and energy management services. “We have kept our service department running strong, entering stores every month for a scheduled checkup,” notes Ligoci. “Many stores rely on us to inform them if something is going wrong.”

Even when systems fail, ABC is there to step in and get stores back up and running. After Hurricane Sandy ravaged New York, ABC was there to provide immediate assistance. “From emergency power generators to repairs; we do it all,” explains Ligoci, “We sort of turn into a salvage company, saving mass amounts of refrigerated product. After Hurricane Sandy, at one of our Cumberland Farms stores in Brooklyn, a tree pierced a hole in its roof. We informed them of the damage, because the store manager had no idea what had happened.”

From maintenance to emergency repairs and system efficiency, ABC covers everything down to X, Y and Z. “We’re changing constantly and searching for new ways to better serve our range of clients,” adds Ligoci. “ABC is heavily into energy management, which is especially important for supermarkets and convenience stores because these companies constantly have lights and HVAC running, utilizing mass amounts of energy. We’re working on ways to save them money and lessen the amount of energy they use through specialized controls, LED lighting systems and automatic shut-off sensors.”

After 64 years in business, Ligoci continues to bring that same spark of energy he had when he first joined ABC, and he’s passing it onto the second and third generations. “My son is currently our vice president and he’s going to take over when I retire,” he reveals. “My grandson is in college and has expressed interest in joining ABC, as well.”

Searching for the most efficient ways to heat, cool and optimize commercial and industrial operations, ABC Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Inc. continues to support some of the biggest names in retail across the Northeast.

Published on: July 22, 2014

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