Recently we spoke with Tom Lenz, the president of Lenz Sales and Distributing on the 27th anniversary of his company. We’d like to share the story of this great refrigerant distributor, because it’s a very inspirational one and also because we think you’d like to know more about the refrigerant distributor we recommend most!
Let’s dive into how this company got started out, how it grew and where it’s heading!
The almost unlikely story of Lenz Distributing starts in 1996. Tom Lenz was a college baseball coach with two months off in the summer, who went out on a limb and decided to put his summertime to good use by selling R-12 replacement at auto auctions. He recognized there was need for auctioned cars to have a functioning filled-up airco in the hot summer months and quickly found out there was good money to be made.
In fact, this 96 summer stint proved so successful that he went back the following summer to do it 4 nights a week! At the end of the 97 summer it was clear that he found his calling and that he should do something about it. So in 1998 he decided to take the plunge and resigned from his day job. The Lenz family moved to Florida and he started selling refrigerant full-time in the summer – this time on the bigger Florida auto auctions.
After the summer was over, he saw even more opportunity and moved back to Illinois to open a warehouse and start selling to parts stores and other clients that were looking for refrigerant year round. The summer stint had now turned into a full-time, year-round, real refrigerant business.
By doing more and more outreach in the automotive market the business kept growing and in 1999 a new warehouse was already needed. And in 2000 Lenz was already sending 200000 out flyers per year to gather more business.
Two years later – in 2002 – another milestone was reached as Lenz was able to start doing business directly with Honeywell, for which they’ve become an authorized distributor in the meantime.
At that time Lenz Distributing was still all about automotive and it stayed like that until around 2008. Since then refrigeration has become a bigger and bigger part of its business.
Right now it’s safe to say they deliver any and all refrigerant that company may need.
Here are some key facts about what Lenz Sales and Distributing sells.
- Mobile Refrigerants (R134A, R-12, R404A and YF1234)
- HVAC Refrigerants (R22, R410A, 407C, R404A, R422B, R422D, R438A, R421A, R448A, R452A, R453A, RS-453A, R290, R600A, R134A, R427A, 407A and R507A)
- HFO’s (R448A, R449A, R452A and R1234YF)
At the time of writing Lenz has around 1000 active buying customers.
Shipping is done from two 20000 sqft warehouses, which are located in the state of Illinois. With its great central location and abundant storage capacity this ensures timely delivery all across the continental US.
Secrets to Success
Since the start of the business, it has always been about customer service for Lenz. This may sound like a doozy, but a few simple premises will demonstrate how this is true:
- Great pricing for your refrigerants. By being in touch with the market, Lenz will be able to offer you competitive prices at all time.
- Direct phone and email contact with the sales department. Lenz Distributing makes sure that someone picks up the phone so you can get a deal quickly.
- Fast shipping from a central warehouse! If you order before 12AM Lenz will (almost always) ship the same day and most US destinations can get their refrigerant the next day or the day after!
Plans for the future
When you’re doing things well it’s important to stick to the foundations that make it work. That’s what Lenz is planning – keep delivering refrigerant at a great price and with great service.
In the near future Lenz will keep monitoring the EPA / Worthington situation and the AIM act regarding the industry moving to refillable cylinders. If the EPA prevails ,then Lenz will most likely be looking to build a packaging plant to repack refillable cylinders.
In any case it’s clear that Lenz Sales and Distributing is here to stay and we’ll be seeing continued growth from them in the future!