GODFREY - After 50 years, King Air Conditioning & Heating is still a family business through and through.

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Karen Edwards, who purchased King with her husband in 1991, explains how the duo built the company into the community staple it is today. They started in an office on their back porch, and King has grown to be the Riverbend’s go-to for residential heating and cooling. Bush Refrigeration, their partner brand, will also celebrate 35 years in commercial kitchen equipment, refrigeration and HVAC. It’s an exciting year for the husband-and-wife team and the employees who are considered family.

“It’s a really big deal,” Edwards said. “Working a family business is definitely hard, but it is very rewarding.”

The couple purchased King in September 1991 after the previous owner passed away in June. Right away, they were faced with the challenge of rebuilding their customer base. With two young children and a baby on the way, they moved into the office on Pearl Street in Godfrey and got to work.

At first, it was just the two of them. Edwards worked in the office while her husband was out in the field. They started hiring employees in 1993, and the business took off.

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“We started growing a little bit,” Edwards remembered. “With hard work, it probably took six years or seven or eight years before I felt like we were above the water.”

As the business expanded, so did the family’s involvement. By the time their eldest son was 13, he spent the summers helping his father out in the field. Their daughter ran errands and worked in the office. Today, both kids are still a part of the business. Their son is the service manager and their daughter is the office manager, while their youngest son works as a mechanical engineer in St. Louis.

Edwards is proud of how her family has grown alongside the company. She is taking a step back from the business to spend time with her grandchildren, and she hopes maybe they too will someday join the King legacy.

“The younger generation has really stepped it up and taken us to the next level,” she said. “I feel like we’ve been very blessed and we love the community and it’s been good. It’s been hard work, but it’s definitely been worth it. It’s nice to see our children that decided to come into the business and how they’ve taken it and they are moving it forward.”

But while the company has evolved, its family values have stayed the same. King Air Conditioning & Heating makes an effort to give back to the community, and they are eager to celebrate 50 years of service with the loyal customers they have gained over the decades. All of the employees, blood or not, feel like family. There’s a lot to celebrate in 2024, and the Edwards couple can’t wait to mark this anniversary with the company they built and the people they love.

“A lot has changed over the years, but it’s all for the good and it’s going well. We’ve had some great employees. We have had a great loyal customer base. The business has grown,” Edwards said. “I think we have a great little community here and it’s just good. I feel like God has blessed us and I’m thankful for that.”

For more information about King Air Conditioning & Heating, visit their official website at KingAirCondHeating.com.

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