The office door on Oak Avenue is locked, with envelopes and paperwork inside scattered about and visible through the windows. The company’s phone numbers are no longer in service or can’t take messages.
After more than seven decades in business, it appears that Brainard’s — an HVAC and plumbing contractor as well as a fuel oil supplier — has gone out of business.
Two letters by former owner Howard Brainard, taped to the inside of the front door, explain that he had sold the two separate businesses to other entities in recent years and they both then “ceased operations” this summer.
“I sold my business name, goodwill, customer list, and equipment,” Brainard wrote in both letters, adding he has been “removed” from the operation of the businesses since the sales.
“I am keenly aware of the needs of all of our loyal fuel customers,” he wrote on Aug. 15 to Brainard Fuel Oil LLC customers. “I am working diligently to resolve the issues necessary to resume operations. Please watch for further notification as to when operations will resume.”
‘A series of unfortunate incidents’
The letter states that Brainard sold the fuel oil firm to Rockwell Energy LLC in late 2009 and “due to a series of unfortunate incidents, Rockwell Energy (doing business as Brainard’s Fuel Oil) has ceased operations.”
The HVAC and plumbing business was another entity, known as Brainard’s Inc. That business was sold in late 2011 “to new owners,” Brainard wrote, and service activity stopped in late June 2014.
“Thank you for your patience during this transitional time and we should be in operation very soon,” he told Brainard’s Inc. customers.
Company began in 1940
According to the company’s website, which is still accessible, Brainard’s Inc. was founded in 1940 by Otis M. Brainard Jr. His sons Frederick and LeRoy then took over the company, with LeRoy’s son Howard eventually running the business.
“We have served the Valley area for over 70 years and pride ourselves with prompt dependable service,” states the Brainard’s Inc.’s website.
The company provides residential, commercial, institutional and municipal sales, service, and installation, according to the website. “We are small enough to know you personally yet large enough to service your every need,” states the website.
Brainard’s also promotes itself as offering “Three Generations of Quality Service.”