Sara Melucci, co-owner of Gulf Coast Heating & Cooling, is changing the way you will think about your HVAC service provider. "Traditionally, HVAC companies have always been service technicians performing unit change-outs and other high ticket items," she said. "We are building our company centered around energy saving solutions. We will help you save energy through your entire HVAC system. If your complaint is that your front room is hot, we don't just pump more freon into your system. We examine the entire system to find the most energy efficient way to cool that room."
Melucci came to entrepreneurship as a second act after raising her children and homeschooling them. "As my children grew more independent, I asked myself what I wanted to do with my life," she explained. "I realized that I will never achieve that American dream working for someone else. So I went back to school. From there, I researched franchises, brainstormed ideas, and went to SCORE for assistance starting my own business. At about the same time my SCORE counselor recommended I enter the HVAC industry because my husband was already experienced in HVAC, someone approached us offering to sell us his HVAC business. He already had a relationship with Duke Energy and we were able to purchase it for a really good price."
Melucci is very active in leveraging several entrepreneur resource agencies in her community. In addition to working with SCORE, she is a client of Pasco County's SMARTstart Business Incubator. "SMARTstart's CO.STARTERS class puts your idea to the test and runs it through the paces to really grind out what's effective," she said. "I was also working out of a home office so I was in an isolated space away from the entrepreneurial energy that helps give me the courage to change my business to grow and improve it. Because of the Incubator's monthly meetings and mentorship, I had the support I needed to overcome my fear of losing customers, financial fraud and so on. My mentor spoke with me about how those fears are normal so I could get through it and move forward instead of languishing a bit like I had been."