Tropical Air of Central Florida, a full-service HVAC installation and repair company, is leaving its long-time home in Longwood to expand with a recently purchased property in Sanford.
The residential and commercial service company, which operated out of leased space in Longwood for about five years, paid $325,000 in January for a 1.14-acre property along Sanford's Marquette Avenue.
Danny Huffman, business manager and husband to Tropical Air's co-owner Elaine Huffman, said the couple has always loved Sanford and wanted to ultimately move the business there. They were just waiting to find the right spot.
“The business has expanded a great deal and we wanted to bring that to Sanford,” he told GrowthSpotter. “We found this location. It was quiet, and it was also in the heart of where we wanted to be. We’ve been in Longwood quite a few years, but we always preferred Sanford.”
The site has two small buildings: a single-family home and an 880-square-foot shed built in 1988. The owners plan to use those buildings after some renovations, Huffman said. The company recently applied to rezone the property from Agriculture to RI-1 (Restricted Industries).
Huffman said he has no firm idea yet how much money the company will spend on renovations. He and the owners were to meet on the property Tuesday to discuss their next steps.
“We’re going to make it more comfortable, updating the kitchen to make sure our technicians feel at home there,” Huffman said. “We don’t get a lot of foot traffic. We don’t do sales. We are strictly service and new installation for residential and commercial.”
They are also looking for a landscape company, said Huffman, to add “a lot of trees and flowers.”
“We’re going to beautify it as much as possible,” he noted.
The move to Sanford won’t happen for at least a couple of months, said Huffman, but Tropical Air should be in its new digs by June at the latest.
The company employs 12 people now, but Huffman hopes to add a few technicians at the new headquarters. Some of those may come from Southern Technical College, which has a campus in Sanford with an HVAC program. Huffman said he and his wife are on the college’s advisory committee.
“We are growing; there’s a lot of space for us to grow there,” Huffman said. “Right now, we have six vehicles. We plan on keeping those, but who knows what tomorrow will hold.”