Loyalty is one of our core values in Martin City. Everyone has remained loyal to the people and businesses in the community, which has helped make this a great place to be. One example is Midwest Heating Cooling & Plumbing, a family-owned business who has been located in Martin City for over 50 years. They have built a reputation based on loyalty to their customers, employees and the community. The company specializes in residential heating and cooling replacement, service, and plumbing. Bill Lambert and his brother-in-law started the business in 1964. Lambert’s sons, Jack, John and Jeff, took over the day-to-day operation when Bill passed away in 2001.
“We take pride in what my dad started,” says Jack Lambert. “We feel it has gotten bigger and better, and we want to pass it on to the 3rd generation to keep it going.”
When the company started, it specialized in new construction. In the mid-2000’s, the owners could see the housing market crash approaching and began focusing on replacement and service to existing homes.
“We would rather do a one day job for existing homes, than work on new construction,” says Lambert. “I love traveling around, meeting people, and helping them solve their problems.”
Creating a family atmosphere
The company maintains their family values by grooming employees and promoting from within. For example, Kenny Craig started at the company in 1998 as an installer and was soon promoted up the ranks to a management role.
“When I started, I never thought I would be a manager,” says Craig. “I began at the bottom and worked hard and stayed loyal, and the Lamberts remained loyal to me. The family prefers to promote from within, rather than hiring someone from the outside, if possible.”
Even though their employees live all over Kansas City, Craig and Lambert focus on creating a team atmosphere when they come to work in their Martin City office. “Our goal is to develop our employees into team members who want to work with us, not train them up so they can go work for someone else,” says Craig. “Many have been approached by other companies for more money, but they aren’t interested. They will be here forever,” he says.
The company is approaching 70 employees, and Lambert hopes to continue growing the business.
“Many of our employees came from other companies who made promises they didn’t keep,” says Lambert. That’s not a problem for this company. “The biggest challenge for us is in finding skilled people. We are only limited by the number of great people we can hire.”
Bill Lambert built the company’s reputation on loyalty to customers, and they have remained loyal in return. Craig and Lambert say their favorite customers are those who are initially unhappy but are so impressed with the work, they refer them to their friends.
“Our customers know we keep working until it is done right and everyone is happy,” says Craig. “We do far less advertising than bigger companies in town, but we have grown because of word of mouth and loyal customers.”
That success has led to the company winning the “Dave Lennox Award,” 31 years in a row! In fact, only one other company in the nation has accomplished the same feat. The award is the highest honor Lennox hands out, and only 25 out of 7,000 dealers in North America win the award each year.
“Most of the people who work for Lennox in Kansas City call us to fix and service their own homes,” says Lambert. “Many of our competitors are bigger and nationally-owned, but they lose customers who do not remain loyal to them. We get repeat business because our customers know we will take care of them.”
Growing with the community
As a fixture in Martin City for 50 years, both men say Martin City has been great for the company and they love doing business here. The location has been a key factor in their success.
“We do work all over the metro, from Platte City to Lawrence and Oak Grove. Martin City is a good location for us because of the accessibility to highways and other parts of the city. We don’t plan to leave,” says Lambert.
Craig says the community’s reputation has grown in recent years.
“Before, Martin City was only known for a couple of businesses. Now, it is a social area and people know it for all kinds of reasons,” says Craig. “When you come here on the weekend it is a madhouse. There is so much more activity here.”
The next generation
Lambert believes the family has been able to continue to build on what his father and uncle created, and he hopes to one day pass the business on to the family’s next generation.
“When my dad was in charge, he didn’t have a lot of support and it was harder to grow the business. Today, we have great people working here, from the front desk and management to the delivery drivers and installers,” says Lambert.
“I think Dad would say ‘You guys have done a heck of a job, and I’m proud of you.’”
Midwest Heating Cooling & Plumbing is located at 13228 Holmes Road in Kansas City, MO. Call (816) 943-8400 or visit their website to for your heating, cooling, and plumbing needs!