• William P Allen-President
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    • Website: pridecas.com
    • Top Executive: William P. Allen, President
    • Local Employees: 29
    • Headquarters: Rochester, NY
    • Founded: 2004
    • Total Employees: 29
    • Years on List: 4
    • Last Years Rank: –

The company name sums up the culture accurately.

At Pride Commercial Appliance Service, employees take great pride in their work and the customer satisfaction that follows.

“We’re a small, close-knit group of people who enjoy working with each other. It feels like family,” says Melissa Spina, office manager. She has worked for the company for 10 years and worked for Pat Allen, Pride founder and president, at his previous employer.

Allen sums up its successful business model: “Once we get a new customer, they tend to stay with us because our employees are so dedicated to doing the best job possible.”

Pride services and installs commercial restaurant equipment, including stoves, microwave ovens, walk-in and reach-in coolers and more. Customers include any business with a kitchen — restaurants, schools, nursing homes, hospitals and food-processing facilities, among others.

Currently serving the greater Rochester area, Buffalo and Syracuse, Pride has averaged nearly 20 percent annual revenue growth over the past three years and is on target for 15 to 20 percent growth for 2017. Allen credits the company’s focus on customer service for its consistent growth.

“We realize that when equipment is down, we need to get it back up and running quickly,” he says. “People’s businesses are at stake, and we recognize and respond to that.”

Allen founded Pride in 2004 after working as the regional branch manager for a well-known manufacturer of premium food-cooking equipment. He took that position after working for a restaurant equipment service company in the Albany area. Both experiences guided his vision for Pride.

“I started the business after I realized that one of the problems with the industry was that not enough people took pride in their work. I wanted an opportunity to do work I could be proud of and to give my employees something to be proud of, as well,” says Allen. “We help convey this somewhat nontraditional attitude to our customers through the company name.”

The business grew quickly from a 10-by-25-foot room in Fairport to a 12,000-square-foot facility in Henrietta that includes a parts warehouse. In fact, within just two months of launching, Allen added two technicians and a dispatcher.

Today, he has 22 highly trained employees who not only repair broken equipment but also teach equipment owners how to reduce maintenance costs by doing some of the work themselves and showing them how to use new equipment. Pride also performs preventative maintenance on most equipment in the kitchen.

“Preventative maintenance is a big factor in controlling repair expenses and equipment downtime,” he says. “A chef who can’t use equipment is still getting paid, so when we help kitchens stay up and running, we’re helping the owner increase revenue and profits.”

The company is factory-authorized to provide warranty service on more than 70 brands, including Bally Refirigeration, Southbend, Frymaster, TurboChef and many others.

“When anybody has a problem with their equipment, the manufacturer sends them to us. That gets our foot in the door. Once we’re there, it’s up to us to keep and grow our relationship with that customer,” Allen says.

While Allen hopes to expand his company’s services to other parts of the state, he knows he’s only as good as his company’s talent.

Finding well-trained technicians is his biggest challenge. Allen recruits from Monroe Community College’s HVAC training program (he says that people are often surprised by the similarities between HVAC work and food-service equipment repair), but also provides extensive in-house training. That effort is boosted by a staff with longevity — with so much know-how in-house, it’s easier to teach newer employees.

The values and industry dedication Pride has become known for were recently recognized when the company was named 2017 Allied Member of the Year by the New York State Restaurant Association’s Rochester Chapter.

“I know my customers and employees very well. I work side by side with them every day,” Allen says. “I am always available to show up on a site and get to work with our technicians if needed. All in the name of solving any problem our customers have with their equipment.”