Kalins Indoor Comfort celebrated 100 years of service in the Siouxland area this year. It was a celebration that was heartfelt and spread throughout the year with not only the company owner and employees, but the entire Siouxland community.
Bruce Kalin is the owner of the company today, and the third generation in his family to carry on the tradition. Bruce officially joined the company in 1976. He worked with his father, Sid, closely on all aspects of the business, including marketing, throughout the years. This included the Kalins TV commercials with Dave Lennox and the “Atta Boy Sid,” campaign. Another Kalins commercial people fondly remember are the swimming pool commercials.
“I can still remember shooting the commercials. I pushed dad into the pool, and when he came up, he had lost his glasses, which was the best part of the commercial,” shared Bruce.
In his late teens, Bruce worked for the company that would have him taking out the old Norfolk cast iron furnaces with huge ducts, resembling arms, referred to as the ‘octopus furnaces’ and replacing them with the modern air forced gas furnaces.
“If I’m on a sales call and replacing a unit with today’s high-efficiency systems, I almost have to chuckle. With some of those units, I can recall installing them,” stated Bruce.
However, some sales calls may also bring with them a bit of a more sentimental tone.
“If I’m replacing a furnace, and the owner shares with me that this was her grandmother’s furnace and that my father had installed it, that gives you those warm, fuzzy feelings. Those furnaces worked well for 40 years because they were a quality product. It allowed us to take care of generations of families,” commented Bruce.
However, it isn’t simply quality products that helped make the Kalins company a lasting cornerstone in the Siouxland community. It was also how they treated their customers.
“Honesty and integrity, always,” stressed Bruce, when he spoke of working with his customers. “I like to think that we do things right, and we do it right the first time. If we don’t, we make it right. We want things to be done correctly, and honestly, being ethical and always in the best interest of our customers,” said Bruce.
Accomplishing that he attributes to the team members they’ve had as employees during the past 100 years.
“We’ve always made sure our employees were up-to-date with the latest training. My grandfather, Jacob, worked with IPS when he first started out. He was a pioneer in getting gas heating for furnaces instead of coal. He believed in taking care of his customers. That’s a tradition and a belief we carry on today,” said Bruce.
Community commitment and involvement is something else that the Kalins business and family takes to heart. At the luncheon on Friday, September 24, with area businesses and organizations celebrating Kalin’s 100th year Anniversary, the Kalin’s company donated $100,000 to the Siouxland United Way.
“We wanted to donate $1,000 for every year we’ve been able to service the Siouxland community. My father instilled in me at a very young age, as I’m sure his father did to him, that it is so important to give back to the community that supports you,” shared Bruce.
His wife, Linda, whom Bruce emphatically states has always been extremely supportive of the business, shared this.
“Both Bruce and I are deeply invested in our business/organizations, and both of us work a lot. But we’re a team and not only help support each other, but we are also focused on giving back to this community that we love. There is a lot of need in Siouxland and we hope this gift can provide some support to those who need a little help towards a better future for themselves and their children,” said Linda.
Linda herself came from a family that ran a family-owned business in the Twin Cities. Linda met Bruce when they were both undergrads at UC-Boulder.
“Bruce has a group of extremely loyal and talented employees, some of which worked for my father-in-law, Sid, ‘Dad’ to me. Their growth and success in celebrating 100 years is because of everyone at Kalins through the generations,” said Linda.
Bruce shared his wife’s opinion, “Our team members are an integral part of our success because without them, we wouldn’t be here today.”
An ardent supporter of Siouxland, Linda is the Executive Director of the Iowa Poison Control Center and past Chairwoman of the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Bruce and Linda have been blessed with four children, now grown and living on their own.
“I am so honored to be celebrating 100 years in business and being able to support small businesses and the trades. I am looking forward to what the future brings,” said Bruce.
By Amy Buster