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  • Jim Townsend

ESI Heating and Cooling’s new location under construction

If you have been on Grand River Ave. near the Wagon Wheel lately, you probably could not help but notice some new construction in the area.

One of the job sites is the future home of ESI Heating and Cooling. With an anticipated move in date at the end of March or beginning of April, the new location will allow ESI to move all its operations under one roof.

ESI currently operates a retail/office space at 1218 East Grand River as well a warehouse located at 8840 Barnes Road. Both of those locations are for sale or will be in the near future.

Originally started in 1979 by Dan Bengel and his wife Joann as Dan’s Solar Supply, the business later changed its name to Enercon Systems, Inc., or ESI. The couple’s son Nick Bengel purchased the business in 1998. Today ESI employs Nick and seven employees. The company serves both residential and commercial customers with sales, installation and servicing of heating and cooling systems.

When asked about the move, Nick said the idea has been in the works for about three years. He said, “The goal is to get everything in one location. We are not as efficient as we can be and we spend too much time going back and forth.”

The new location will be approximately 5,800 square feet. That is about 1,200 square feet more than the existing locations combined.

Bengel says the new facility, which is being constructed by Tom Motz, will have high ceilings for storage and has been designed to accommodate expansion in the future if needed. Bengel says he has done business with Motz for 20 plus years.

The new location will include in-floor heating in both the shop and the office. Bengel said this feature is a “no brainer” for him. “If your feet are warm, your body is warm.” The concrete approach will also have a snow melt system. Bengel believes the installation of these systems at ESI’s new building will offer an excellent opportunity for potential customers to see these types of systems at work.

The shop area will feature a cathedral style ceiling with enough room for a basketball hoop. Bengel says this will come in handy when his children come to work with him on Saturdays. He also hopes to add an indoor batting cage at some point in the future that area youth teams could possibly use.

Supporting local youth programs is a priority for Bengel. ESI has sponsored many area youth programs including Portland Youth Baseball and Portland Jr. Raiders. He was one of four sponsors the Jr. Raider’s new scoreboard at Portland Middle School. Bengel said, “I played football, baseball and basketball growing up. Lessons learned in youth sports helped me out tremendously through my life.” He added, “Youth sports shape a lot of people. I still remember when Flip Lowrey and Bob Williams coached me when I was young.”

Bengel and Nick Sandborn own three additional lots behind the new ESI location which are currently for sale. The new ESI facility will also have a neighbor when the new dental office of Mike Mauren DDS is finished. While no other tenants are confirmed at this time, Bengel says the area will be a nice “light commercial/industrial park when done.”

ESI Heating and Cooling is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. You can reach them at 517-647-6906, or at their website,

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