By Will Gardner
VERO BEACH -- When Dale Brandt started his appliance repair business in 1989, he never imagined that it would grow like it has.
"We've come a long way in 24 years," he says, "I'm humbled by it."
Mr. Brandt started Brandt's Appliance Parts and Service as a one-man operation. Brandt's now boasts 32 employees and 20 service trucks.
After spending a few years in Sebastian, followed by 18 years on Dodger Road in Vero Beach, Mr. Brandt moved into a prime location a year ago on U.S. 1, just a few miles south of Wabasso.
Mr. Brandt says he built his business with one philosophy: Treat people like you want to be treated. That's not just lip-service, either. Just two nights ago, he personally went to help an elderly customer whose refrigerator had stopped working at 11p.m.
"I had to transfer all of her food to a refrigerator in the garage," he said.
Unlike most appliance repair companies whose servicemen are specialized for specific types of appliances, each of Brandt's technicians is certified to repair just about everything.
Brandt's techs get service calls from Mims to Stuart and everywhere in between. The business is licensed to service more than 40 name-brand appliances and has a service agreement with Lowes to service their products as well.
Their service is so good, Whirlpool named Brandt's first in customer satisfaction in the Southeast region of the United States for 2011 and 2012.
The new location has allowed Brandt's to expand its services into the area of outdoor kitchens. But they don't just repair them, they build them.
"We realized that there was a void that needed to be filled," says Paul Stokes, outdoor sales specialist. "Why hire three different companies to build your island, do your stonework, supply the equipment and provide service and maintenance when you can just hire one company to do it all?"
In becoming that "one company," Brandt's has hired a stone mason with 31 years of experience and in-house fabricators.
But Mr. Brandt's newest pride and joy is his outdoor kitchen showroom. Displaying their work with two full-length stone kitchen islands, installed with top-of-the-line grills, coolers, ice machines and fireplaces, it's bound to be the envy of every person that walks in.
"As far as I know, there is no one within 200 miles who is doing what we do," says Mr. Stokes. "And I don't think there is anyone in Florida with a showroom like this."
Some attribute Mr. Brandt's success to the family-like atmosphere of the company. Among his employees are his son, Dale Jr. and daughter, Jacaline. Brandt's Service Director Vince Shababy has been with the company for 23 years. There are also husbands and wives who work there. Paul Stokes' wife, Melissa, is the office manager.
"Dale is easy to work for," Mr. Stokes said. "He's laid back and mild-mannered. He has just one rule: Do your job and do it right."
It's easy to see how Mr. Brandt's approach to people and business made him the patriarch of this family.
Brandt's Appliance Parts and Service is located at 6880 U.S 1 in Vero Beach. They can be reached at (772) 562-5759.