Case Studies

The Longacre Company

91 Years of Family-driven, Diverse Electrical, Mechanical and Renovation Services

Since 1922 The Longacre Company (Longacre) has been delivering a full range of professional electrical and mechanical services. The Pennsylvania-based company’s electricians, plumbers, designers and technicians are some of the best in the business, with real life, hands-on experience. Combining industry-leading experience with the service-oriented values of several generations of family ownership, Longacre has emerged as one of the most trusted companies in southeastern Pennsylvania.

From a Shed to the Storefront

“My grandfather, Arland E. Longacre, a farm boy from Bally, Penn., established his own electrical business in June 1922,” recalls Steve Longacre, third generation family owner and vice president of Longacre. Using the $250 he had in savings, Arland purchased a small truck and materials and started doing electrical wiring jobs out of a used shed on his father’s farm in Barto, Penn.

Several years later, Arland and his wife moved to a small farm outside of Bally. “One thing led to another and he started doing more dairy farm work, including milk cooling refrigeration,” reveals Steve. In 1932, as the business grew and more utility companies extended lines into rural Pennsylvania, so did the growth of electrical ranges and refrigerators. Arland decided to rent and open a retail store in Bally in response to the demand.

With the introduction of the first automatic washer in 1937, followed by more appliances, Arland expanded the company’s appliance line and sound equipment to the point where Longacre was in need of more space. The company continued to expand throughout the 1940s and 1950s as more technology became prominent in the local marketplace, from black and white to color televisions to improved kitchen appliances.

What started as an electrical wiring business, mainly serving local farms and families, has transformed into a diversified operation, supporting residential, commercial, agricultural and industrial clients alike. Today, Longacre offers complete electrical, HVAC, kitchen and bath remodeling and retrofits, plumbing contractor service and refrigeration.

“We work with homeowners looking to do home improvements as a primary contractor, but we also operate as a mechanical and electrical subcontractor to larger general contractors,” details Steve. “We’re pretty flexible in our industry and I am grateful we are so diversified, especially when the recession hit the hardest in 2008. The light commercial work dropped off substantially so we were able to fall back and focus on our residential customers. We have struggled with inflated material costs, especially with copper pricing and fuel going through the roof. I have 40 trucks on the road, so that’s a huge expense.”

Steve says it was all about cutting back and getting down to basic business. “We had to streamline and be smarter,” he explains. “The good times were over and it was time to get lean and mean. Luckily, we have solid finances and a great customer base so we were ready to ride out the tough times.”

Steve is happy to note things are finally back on track for Longacre. “The past few years have been challenging and bleak, but our future is bright,” he ensures.

Back on Track

From the first farms Arland served in 1922, Longacre has remained Pennsylvania-based. “We serve a triangle-shaped area from Allentown to Reading and just outside of Philadelphia,” notes Steve. “After some difficult years, work in this area is picking back up and we have many jobs lined up.”

Longacre recently completed one of its largest HVAC projects in Westchester, Penn. “This was our biggest radiant heating job on the books, including two boilers and conventional AC equipment,” adds Steve. “It was quite an accomplishment.”

The company also performed a large scale boiler replacement at the Saint Paul’s UCC Church in Fleetwood, Penn. “We’re just getting started on a large electrical job for Gateway Ticketing in Boyertown, Penn.,” shares Steve. “That’s a 30,000-square-foot job for an up and coming global company. We have also finished two car dealerships; Quigley Chevrolet in Bally and Quigley Dodge in Boyertown.”

According to Steve, one of the company’s most interesting jobs to-date was at an industrial chemical manufacturing plant. “We installed fiber optic wiring,” Steve continues. “This is something we had never done before and my electrical manager was pretty excited about it.”

Remodeling a Way out of the Recession

With a wide range of electrical and mechanical services, Steve says the most significant part of Longacre’s current progression is the company’s kitchen and bath remodeling division. “Since 2008 and through the downturn, our home remodeling division has really taken off,” he shares. “I think when things are tight, people realize they’re going to stay where they are and work with what they already have to improve it.”

From a full-scale kitchen and bathroom replacement to a cabinet modification, Longacre’s design professionals work with customers throughout the entire process. “We like to tell the homeowner we do everything but paint,” Steve continues. Longacre delivers a revitalized look with the help of skilled finish carpenters, registered plumbers, licensed electricians and experienced floor covering installers.

Longacre continues to satisfy existing long-standing customers while foraging new business as the company celebrates nearly a century in business. “We could not have made it this far without great employees, decades-long loyal customers and our steadfast commitment to always provide quality products and customer service,” remarks Steve.

From a single shed and Arland’s entire savings to an expanding storefront, The Longacre Company has built a tradition of excellence over the last 91 years.

Published on: August 18, 2014

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