Valley Electrical Refrigeration and Air Conditioning
Andy and Lauren Reichel have long nurtured a special bond with the Macleay Valley – a place where they met, married and started their business, Valley Electrical Refrigeration and Air Conditioning.
“Lauren and I have experienced most of our relationship milestones in Kempsey,” Andy says. “We met on the Macleay riverbank while I was in Kempsey competing in a barefoot water ski competition and I proposed to Lauren at Crescent Head headland. Then we married in Kempsey!”
While the couple began their married life in the Hunter Valley, they dreamed of returning to Lauren’s childhood home of Kempsey to raise a family.
“Just about all of Lauren’s family live in the valley and it’s a place that has always felt like home to me,” Andy says. “Our kids were growing up fast and we realised that we couldn’t wait another moment to give them the amazing lifestyle and upbringing the Macleay Valley could offer.”
Starting a small business was another dream the couple had – a dream that relocating to the valley made possible. Since the couple moved to Kempsey last year with their two daughters, Amelia, 4, and Sophia, 2, their business has taken off, winning a Macleay Valley Business Award for Best Start-Up and garnering consistent praise for their high level of service and skill in catering to individualised air conditioning and refrigeration needs, complemented with in-house electrical services.
According to Andy, the business’ success can be attributed to a combination of the use of high-quality products and a genuine desire to connect with the customer.
“We understand that just replacing air conditioners or refrigeration equipment may make economic sense but sometimes our customers might just need to keep things running within the immediate budget – if it can be fixed we will find a way and keep repairs as economical as possible,” he says. “This is a challenge we enjoy!”
Andy also loves the personal interactions with customers that are nurtured in a regional area.
“We really appreciate that most of the business in this area is conducted by small and local businesses just like us who are all happy to help and proud of what they offer,” Andy says. “We love the personal connection that comes with every day’s work.”
And it’s not all work for the couple, who moved from the Hunter Valley to reap the benefits an outdoors lifestyle and quality time with family.
“We love being able to let our kids be kids outside with their dogs, chickens and vegie patch and still only be 15 minutes from the beach,” Andy says. “Even if we’re late home from work it is possible to do something the kids think is amazing even if only for 30 minutes. Life is never dull here.”
Andy is emphatic when offering advice to others who want to enjoy the benefits of operating a small business in the Macleay Valley.
“Ensure you’re doing something that you love and are good at,” he says. “Then find ways to set yourself apart and focus on delivering the highest level of service and attention to detail in whatever you find yourself doing.”