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Star’s Lee Thompson Celebrates 40 Years on the Job

40th Anniversary

It’s been forty years since Lee Thompson opened the doors to Star Heating, but the family-owned business model of exceptional service at a fair price remains the same. 

“Dad always said, ‘Take good care of the customer, do your job well and in the end, the sales will come,’” explains David Thompson, the company’s second-generation owner. Now known as Star Heating and Air Conditioning Co., the business is located at 1702 Commerce Court in Columbia. Star is an independent American Standard Heating and Air Conditioning dealer. 

Starhvac 40thanniv David Lee Thompson
David Thompson, left, and his father Lee Thompson. Photo courtesy of the Thompson family. 

Lee worked for Sears Roebuck & Co. in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, gaining experience as a service technician and credit manager. His experience, coupled with his entrepreneurial spirit, inspired him to open Star Refrigeration. In 1984, he sold the refrigeration company, then moved to Columbia and opened Star Heating in his garage. Building from a foundation of two service trucks and three employees, Star now has thirty-four trucks and forty-two employees.  

The company has many long-time employees, including Dennis Thompson (David’s brother), and managers with twenty-plus years at Star. 

“We have fantastic employees,” notes David. “Sales staff are not paid on commission so they focus on customer needs, not how they will make on the sale.” 

In 1989, David opened The Fireplace Shop in response to safety concerns he noted with fireplace installations by untrained homeowners and contractors.  

Star also supports several children’s charities, including Pascale’s Pals, a non-profit organization developed to benefit children and their families receiving care at UM hospitals. 

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