Bill Pronovost carries on the family tradition of exemplary customer service at P&F Appliance
STORY BY BENJAMIN LERNER
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY BILL PRONOVOST
Walking through P&F Appliance’s well-lit and inviting storefront in downtown Manchester, the rooms are replete with attractive appliances from globally-recognized brands. Although the stainless-steel refrigerators, gas ranges, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, and microwaves that line their walls are certainly eye-catching and appealing, the true difference that sets P&F Appliance apart from its competitors cannot be seen in the glinting surfaces of their products. Over the past four decades, P&F Appliance has built a fiercely loyal following of customers. Their unfailing commitment to honesty, transparency, and customer service has won the confidence of both local community members and second homeowners, who turn to them for trusted advice and support at every stage of appliance ownership.
“A good appliance is dependable and reliable,” says P&F Appliance’s Owner Bill Pronovost II. “Our customers depend on our appliances to provide them with comfort and convenience in their homes. We go out of our way to make sure that we treat everyone who comes through our doors with respect, and we offer them prompt and comprehensive service that is every bit as reliable as our products.” As a second-generation small business owner, Pronovost is proud to carry on the family tradition that his parents, Bill Pronovost Sr. and Elaine Pronovost, started nearly half a century ago.
P&F Appliance, Inc. was originally founded in 1979 after the Pronovost and Farkas families moved from Fairfield, Connecticut to Southern Vermont. After settling in the Manchester area, they formed a business partnership when they purchased Pufahl’s Appliance shop, which was located at the intersection of Bonnet Street and Main Street. In 1983, Michael and Judy Farkas stepped away from the business after Michael Farkas made the decision to return to his career as a schoolteacher. Bill Pronovost Sr. and Elaine Pronovost then became the sole owners of the business. In the early 1990s, they purchased the building that currently houses P&F Appliance at 147 Bonnet Street. After the business changed locations, Bill Pronovost II began working full-time for P&F Appliance as an appliance technician.
“I had already spent some time working at the store when I was in high school,” says Pronovost. “I started out working with my dad and installing appliances with him on the weekends before I left for college. I became more closely involved with the business when I graduated from Johnson State University in 1992 with a degree in Business Management.”
After Bill Pronovost II joined the P&F Appliance team in 1992, he worked hand-in-hand with his father to grow the business. Pronovost elaborates: “When I came on board full-time in 1992, my dad ran the sales department in the shop, while I went out on the road to handle the technical work and installations. Back then, we were only selling appliances from several brands. I talked him into selling and offering repair services for more brands, which really helped to grow the business.”
When Bill Pronovost Sr. passed away in 2008, Bill Pronovost II took the reins and managed the business until he purchased it a few years later. “I had a wonderful time working with my dad, while he was still with us,” recalls Pronovost. “We grew our sales team and laid all of the necessary groundwork that brought P&F Appliance to where it is today.”
As the new owner of P&F Appliance, Bill Pronovost II continued to expand the business. He purchased the neighboring building on Bonnet Street for storage and warehousing purposes, and added several additional employees to his sales and service team. “We’re still a ‘Mom and Pop’ shop, but we’ve seen a lot of positive growth over the past decade,” notes Pronovost. “We have customers who have stayed with us for decades, and we’re grateful for every new customer that comes on board.”
Under Bill Pronovost II’s leadership, P&F Appliance’s team of technicians has expanded their range of service skills to encompass a broader variety of brands and products. “The mechanics and technological interfaces of state-of-the-art appliances are constantly changing,” says Pronovost. “In the old days, major appliance brands and department stores would offer comprehensive training and certification classes for the mechanics who serviced a specific line of branded products. These days, technical service providers are required to become authorized by a large number of major brands, which requires them to be flexible, versatile, and technically knowledgeable.” Pronovost says that the appliance service techs who work at P&F have extensive amounts of experience working with many different brands of appliances. They go to extreme lengths to stay up to date on new technological developments and maintain close relationships with the technical support teams of leading appliance manufacturers. “If you purchase an appliance from us and you experience any type of problem, our techs will be able to effectively diagnose and resolve the issue.”
Pronovost adds that in the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the business has increased threefold. “We remain committed to providing the same level of high-quality service to all of our customers,” says Pronovost. “This commitment doesn’t end with the sale of an appliance – it continues throughout the lifecycle of the appliance.”
According to Pronovost, that dedication to high standards of service applies to appliances at all price points, as well as interactions with customers of all tastes and preferences. “At P&F, we treat our customers with respect and integrity, no matter what appliance they’re buying. If someone comes in and has the ability to buy a high-end appliance, we’re not just going to sell them the most expensive product in order to maximize our profit. We’re going to work closely with them to make sure that they get the item that’s right for them. We work hard to save people money regardless of the price point or someone’s budget.”
Pronovost says that those same universal standards of equal treatment also apply to P&F’s service policies. If someone with a mid-range appliance has a scheduled maintenance or installation appointment, they will never reschedule their appointment in order to accommodate the installation or service of a pricier appliance. “People have called us up and offered us nearly double the cost to prioritize their service request before someone else’s, and we’ve repeatedly turned them down. It’s important to offer courteous service to every customer. That starts with honoring the commitments that we make and staying true to our core values.”
Pronovost is also happy to collaborate with with Efficiency Vermont to promote the use and sale of energy-efficient appliances. “Living in Vermont, people have a true appreciation for the beautiful natural environment we live in,” says Pronovost. “Environmental sustainability is incredibly important to us, which is why you’ll see many of our appliances marked with special ‘Efficiency Vermont’ tags throughout the store.” Pronovost explains that Efficiency Vermont has partnered with businesses throughout the state, such as P&F Appliance, to offer initiative payments for every energy-efficient appliance that is sold at their stores. “We’re proud to be able to help Efficiency Vermont make a difference,” says Pronovost. “We’re also proud of what we’re able to do for every satisfied customer who walks out of our doors with a new appliance or compliments us on our service. We’ve been serving the local community for a long time, and we’re grateful for all of the continuous support that we’ve gotten from both our most loyal customers and our new ones.”
P&F Appliance Offers Sales and Service for the Following Brands:
GE (General Electric)
Fisher & Paykel
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