Cota & Cota Inc.
The full range of residential heating products at Cota & Cota Inc. (Cota & Cota) may offer the best of modern convenience, but the Vermont-based company’s service is nothing short of old-fashioned. Cota & Cota refers to this service-based business style as the Old Yankee Way, where concern, compassion and caring are cornerstones. Doing business the way Cota & Cota does means treating customers and employees with courtesy and professionalism, and offering honesty and good value.
“While the rest of our industry goes to multinational companies and huge conglomerates that span the country, we long for the days where you could deal with someone who lives and works in your hometown,” shares Casey Cota, president of Cota & Cota. “Someone who coaches your sports teams and is really part of the community. That’s the kind of familiar face and service we’re trying to offer.”
Casey recalls a piece of advice he learned early on about running a business and customer service. “The best service in the world is no better than what it should be,” he says. “And I’ve learned that rings true. If you want to be known as one of the top fuel dealers, you have to actually be the best; you can’t just talk about it.”
According to Casey, part of being the best is pushing employees to achieve more than they thought possible. “We challenge our employees to be the best they can be on a daily basis,” adds Casey.
Extending Family Values and Personal Service
It’s been this way for Cota & Cota for nearly 72 years. “The company was established by my grandfather Ken and my grandmother Helen in 1941,” shares Casey. “My grandmother wanted to make sure her name was on the company, as well so that’s where double Cota & Cota name comes from.”
The company entered the heating industry selling range oil before heating oil was more prevalent. “Range oil was used for kitchen stoves and was the primary heat source in the middle of the home aside from wood stoves, so you can imagine homes were pretty cold,” recalls Casey.
In the 1940s, most tanks were 55-gallon drums, but after World War II 275-gallon tanks began to be more widely utilized. “This sparked the need for greater delivery service,” explains Casey. “We began to grow and in 1971 my father bought the business from my grandparents and took Cota & Cota from eight employees to about 40 employees.”
By 1995 Casey and his brother were ready to take over Cota & Cota as third-generation owners. “Two years ago, I bought my brothers half of the company and we’ve been on a path of expansion for the last 25 years,” reveals Casey. “We’ve grown more than two times the size Cota & Cota was in the 1970s when my father owned the company.”
Today, Cota & Cota is based in Bellows Falls, Vt., but the company covers nearly a third of the state with offices from Brattleboro to Bellows Falls, Jamaica to Ludlow, Springfield to White River Jct. and everywhere in between. “We reach from the Massachusetts border to the middle of Vermont and into southwestern New Hampshire,” details Casey. “We now have about 90 employees.”
Cota & Cota trains all of its heating technicians in-house. “We have our own hands-on lab for propane and oil heating units to train and test all of our techs and we have a classroom,” adds Casey. “We don’t send our techs out to school; we have certified instructors in-house.”
With 90 employees, Cota & Cota’s best asset is the availability of real people. “I’d say our niche is answering the phone,” jokes Casey. “When you call, you can talk to a real person; we don’t have a phone tree system.”
From residential heating oil to propane, kerosene to gasoline, on and off road diesel to complete plumbing and HVAC installations, as well as gas appliances to a fleet maintenance garage, Cota & Cota offers fast, trusted and quality-backed solutions. “Whether it’s our bio-blend partially renewable heating oil or clean propane gas, we’ll do installations and a free two-year warrantee regardless of the manufacturer’s warrantee,” explains Casey. “We stand behind everything we install so you don’t have to worry.”
It all goes back to the old-fashioned way Cota & Cota does business, which is delivering peace of mind and a familiar face. “We want to stand behind something that’s going to give you a lifetime of benefits,” adds Casey. “We’re going to save you money, stand behind what we sell and we’re going to be there for the long haul; that’s why people recognize us as a leader in this industry.”
The third-generation family business has been rolling out its signature yellow and white trucks, delivering heating solutions and unmatched service for nearly 72 years. Cota & Cota continues to be an active member in its community. “Just the managers alone put in over 8,000 hours of community service a year,” notes Casey. “I’ve recently worked to upgrade the local little field.”
In September 2013, Cota & Cota was recognized for its involvement by the Greater Falls Regional Chamber of Commerce as the 2013 Business of the Year. Additionally, in July 2013 Cota & Cota won the Best of Brattleboro in the home fuel category. Establishing itself as a notable leader, Cota & Cota Inc. continues to set the standard in the local heating industry living up to the Old Yankee Way.