After a quarter century at the helm, the patriarch of Five Star Heating & Air Conditioning in Michigan’s Great Southwest is preparing to hand off the baton to his son this fall.
Company founder Walter Wolshlager, who grew up in and graduated high school in Bridgman, will wrap up his storied career by the end of the year, handing things off to his son Brian Wolshlager.
Five Star Heating and Air Conditioning was established by Walter Wolshlager back in 1998 in St. Joseph, launching the business at 6107 Niles Avenue. He did so after working for two other local companies for a dozen years, before decided to begin his own firm. Thus, this year marks the 25th year in business for Five Star.
Walter ran his company on the pledge to deliver top shelf customer service by performing each and every job correctly. He built a reputation in the area by not only doing HVAC work with precision, but more importantly by being a friend first and doing things the right way.
Brian Wolshlager says of his father, “Walter was one of the HVAC guys in the area whose business was built on word of mouth, not marketing,” and adds, “He is one of the original HVAC guys who brought Berrien County into the next generation.” Alongside Walter was his wife Diane Wolshlager who ran the back end of the business during these past 25 years. Anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting Diane quickly realizes she has had a huge influence on the company over those 25 years.
Five Star Heating & Air Conditioning started out in 1998 with just one truck and two employees. Fast forward twenty five years to today and the company has upgraded to a fleet of 11 vehicles and a crew of 15. The company is now housed at 1744 Joni Lane in Stevensville, and offers employees a complete benefits package of health insurance, retirement, vacation pay, and holiday pay allowing them to continue to grow and still do things the right way for both team members and customers alike.
Now, after 25 years, Walt and Diane are hanging it up and “going off into the sunset” of vacationing and enjoying their retirement at the end of the year. The Five Star legacy will continue unabated thanks to their son Brian who has been with the company for 19 of those years alongside his parents.
Brian tells me, “I have picked up right where Walt and Diane will leave off, following their lead by always emphasizing first rate customer service and doing business the right way.” Brian adds, “We will continue to make the company a staple in the community through charitable donations and marketing giveaways to the customers we service. We would like to celebrate Walt and Diane for being the backbone of the company for so many years and we will be celebrating them at a retirement party at the end of the year.”
Five Star Heating and Air Conditioning is anchored by a strong team of individuals who don’t just waltz in, place the HVAC equipment in service and go on their way. Rather, they enjoy coming to work and working as a team to accomplish the team’s goals. Anyone on the team will tell you that it is a place where everyone’s ideas matter. IIn fact, they are proud of the fact that it’s a place where customers are even given the personal phone number of the technician, with the promise that they are only a phone call away to resolve any issues.
Five Star Heating and Air Conditioning is a Carrier Dealer offering services from residential to light industrial clients. They install and service all equipment that heats or cools any space as well as hot water heaters and generators. Brian is proud to note, “We offer service agreements at the best price in the industry and offer 24-hour service as well,” and adds, “We are a part of the Better Business Bureau, the Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber, the Harbor Country Chamber, a staple at the Berrien County Youth Fair, and a huge supporter of all Berrien County school sports.”
As Brian wrapped up our recent conversation, he said, “Once again we would like to say thanks to Walt and Diane Wolshlager for everything they have built and I am willing to put in the work to keep those strong business ethics and traditions alive.”
You can reach Brian’s team at Five Star Heating & Air Conditioning by phone at (269) 428-0004 or you can simply stop by at 1744 Joni Lane in Stevensville, across the street from the Lakeshore High School softball field. Here’s a direct link to their website, as well: