The following letter was recently submitted by a WQP reader. If you would like to comment on this issue, please contact WQP at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact the reader directly at the address given below:
We are a family-owned POU company located in Colorado, established in 1988. Having never advertised using media releases or conventional methods, I feel that we are kept secret sometimes. As the second-generation family is gearing to grow a stronger customer base, I thought I would reach out to see if you could help me.
The POU drinking water cooler companies in the U.S. have gone through many changes and acquisitions through the years. I am mainly talking about Elkay + Sun Rock Water + Oasis = Tri-Palm Intl. ventures.
We started out buying water coolers overseas until Elkay Mfg. offered a finance plan. In the past, no one was into POU out west or offered financing for this product. The idea of POU needed to be sold, and we did just that—one customer at a time. Having water coolers on the shelf made it easier and faster to place.
Today, we service more than 6,000 POU units in the front-range Colorado region, and nearly 800 are Elkay. It has been a long haul from just my step-brother and I doing all the installations, trouble-shooting and servicing. We now employ and affect 22 other technicians and their families.
Our problem is over the years we have provided the Elkay line of water coolers and have many of those coolers out on rental. The model line TDS-QA and TDS-QK cooler are not manufactured any more. We have stockpiled many parts to keep them going but need more. The float assembly to the large 3.7 plastic tank is difficult to find. We have replaced many coolers with updated new models, but it is hard to let go of our investment.
As I understand, the “Elkay take-over” did not go smoothly and the warehouse employees were not treated very well. Elkay employees responded during this time by incorrectly marking the parts shipped to the new warehouse. The Sun Rock people did not know what a mess they had when going through all the mismarked parts.
I was thinking of ideas to fix the problem and could use your help. First, a long shot would be to find another dealer with parts for this model of cooler and buy them to fix my coolers. Second, I could pull all the existing customer-placed coolers and sell the stock to a new start-up dealer located on the other side of the world. Third, find the company that is sitting on all the Elkay parts. Or, finally, let the coolers die and move on.
The Elkay Corley Temprite models we are looking for are TDC-QA hot cold room plastic tank and TDC-QK cold room plastic tank / TDS- KTF cold room steel tank and TDS-GTF hot cold steel tank coolers. What do you think?