FOR the last 40 years, Weston and Weston has been keeping the people of not just Leeton, but the wider Riverina region cooler and warmer as their needs require.
Four decades ago brothers George and Lionel Weston answered an ad in a trade magazine and a Leeton institution was born.
Both were refrigeration mechanics - and George was also studying mechanical drafting - before making the move from Sydney in 1978.
“We saw an ad for a refrigeration firm to come to Leeton,” George said. “Murrumbidgee County Council was advertising. We came down to give it a go and we thought if it didn’t work out we’d go back to Sydney.”
The brothers were working for the state government, with some after-hours private work on top of that.
They had both decided on being refrigeration mechanics after George provided moral support at an apprenticeship interview for a friend who had failed at school.
With few other apprenticeship options available and a sales pitch that hooked both boys, George also sold the idea to the younger Lionel, who finished his schooling before taking up the same offer a couple of years later.
Lionel was equally happy to try his hand in the bush.
“I thought it sounded like a good idea to go to the country for a while,” Lionel said. “We wanted to get out, had no idea where Leeton was.
“For commercial refrigeration there was really nobody here. Industries were saying you’ve got to get somebody to town, so that’s why the ad was placed. They provided us with a low-rent workshop and shop, and a letter of introduction.”
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George, Lionel and their wives lived in a flat at the back of the workshop.
“The day we started the two of us just sat on the back dock with a tool box, waiting for the phone to ring, having a cup of tea,” Lionel said.
Their first job was repairing a chest freezer at The Popular Shop in Narrandera.
Business expanded as word got around the new boys would travel for work.
Weston and Weston have used their corporate colouring and fleet of cars as the best form of promotion.
“That’s probably been the biggest thing to get our name out there,” Lionel said. “We’ve always had the green and white cars, always had a lot of signwriting.
“I always say if you advertise you can pick through the work if you want to. If you don’t, nobody knows who you are.”
Weston and Weston’s colour identity came from a love of motorbikes and the classic Kawasaki green.
“At a motorbike show they had a leather cap there in green and white, which looked like good colours,” Lionel said. “When we started up, we thought ‘what’s striking?’. The Kawasakis were green and white and Holden had Panama green, which was (the same), then we put the white writing on it.”