Kegel buys Barker Heating and Cooling » Minden Times

Tim Kegel, left, recently purchased Barker Heating and Cooling, with former owner Steve Barker, right, joining the Kegel Heating and Cooling team. /The Vivian Collings Team

Kegel buys Barker Heating and Cooling

By Vivian Collings
After 47 years of service in Haliburton County, Barker Heating and Cooling is closing its doors.
The longtime heating contractor sold his business to Kegel Heating and Cooling and the deal closed on August 2.
Steve Barker, former owner and manager of Barker Heating and Cooling, has decided to sell the business to prepare for his retirement in the years to come.
“I’m pretty happy to be out. I have done my time. It will be good to be here and continue working for a few years minimum. I want to thank all of my customers for their years of business and support and let them know that Kegel’s will take great care of them.
Barker will stay for the next two years, and three of his HVAC service employees are now Kegel employees.

Owner and President of Kegel Heating and Cooling, Tim Kegel, said: “I worked with Steve for four or five years about 20 years ago at Barker Heating and Cooling. We had a pretty close relationship. I wouldn’t have wanted to buy another company.
The decision to buy Barker Heating and Cooling came from a need for qualified employees.
“The biggest factor in buying Barker’s is that it’s really hard to find qualified HVAC people here. I knew that by taking over from Barker, I would get the skills from his experience and the experience of his workers. You might find someone in town who has 20 years of experience, but they might only have experience in one area of ​​the services we provide,” Kegel said.
Kegel also explained why Barker chose to approach him about the desire to sell.
“It’s hard to sell a family business, especially here, because nobody wants to buy since the owners usually wear 10 different hats. It’s a really hard sell, so Steve approached me a while ago about it, and we made it work for both of us.
Kegel did not purchase the property from Barker, so the new employees will work in Kegel’s newly constructed 12,000 square foot building.
In its newly built warehouse, Kegel Heating and Cooling has a meeting room so they can bring in factory-certified trainers rather than sending employees across town.
“With more employees, we can provide more in-house training. We also help pay to get some of the training for young people who come here,” he said.

Barker’s late father, Don Barker, owned and operated their business from 1975 until 2000, when Steve took over as manager. In 2009, Steve bought the business from his parents.
“We benefit from all of Steve’s knowledge and, combined with our knowledge, we will be the most experienced HVAC company in the Haliburton Highlands region. As the business grows, we will be able to better serve customers with a broader employee base,” Kegel said.

Another reason for the expansion was the high demand for HVAC services which was influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There were a lot of people here building during the pandemic. I think Muskoka is about to get saturated and it’s just getting too expensive to buy property and build there, so people are moving in that direction. Also, being able to work remotely, people are selling their places in the city and renovating places here. Year after year we grow and each year is better than the last. The last two years have been the best two ever,” Kegel said.
“We would like to thank the community that supports us to grow to the point where we can make a gesture like this and assure Barker customers that we will take care of them as much as Steve does,” Kegel said.

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