Two pioneering young men, Robert “Bob” Schabes, and Charles “Ben” Bentley, founded The LeverEdge; originally named Solar City, Inc. Like most start-up businesses, they started small; out of a garage in fact, and their first installation vehicle was a beat-up old Chevrolet station wagon. They started selling solar water heaters door to door with the added incentive of a 40% Federal tax credit available to the buyer at that time.
As the company grew Ben and Bob purchased their first commercial space, a small building in a prime location in south Tampa.
The company expanded and opened a second branch location in Hollywood Florida.
The financing subsidiary, The Independent Solar Plan Company was established with seed money from their financial partner, Mor-Flo Industries in Cleveland Ohio. This finance arm enabled Solar City and their dealers to continue to promote and sell the benefits of solar water heaters through the use of affordable low payment loan programs beyond the termination of the 40% Federal income Tax Credits in 1985.
Solar City purchased Solar Heating Systems, a competitor with two locations in Florida. This enabled Solar City to expand their local reach and delivery services out of Orlando and Clearwater Florida.
The company outgrew its original building and built a new, much larger office and warehouse facility in Tampa, Florida to enable them to continue to expand and grow their operations. That same year, the company relocated their Clearwater office further south to better serve the southwest coast of Florida, from a new branch location in Venice, Florida.
After a year-long construction project, Solar City’s Venice location moved into its brand-new building, the largest in its network at the time.
After years of research and development, the company officially launched what would later be named Solar Hydronics Corporation (SHC). SHC is a manufacturing company that produces world class solar pool heating collectors from raw material to the finished product. www.GetSolarPoolHeating.com
With the acquisition of Filter Equipment Wholesale, the company added water treatment to their product offerings and began to develop and grow through a network of water treatment professionals in Florida. It is at this time that the company chose to change its operational name from Solar City to The LeverEdge to better reflect the diversity of their product offerings.
For the first time in the company’s history The LeverEdge developed an effort to promote their products and services outside of their home state of Florida. The water treatment industry afforded this opportunity as it provided much more growth potential outside of Florida than the solar business at the time.
During the summer of 2009, after several years of record breaking sales success, The LeverEdge moved into its new corporate headquarters, regional distribution center and state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Odessa, FL. This new facility affords the company new expansion and development possibilities that will carry them well into the future.
The new building was designed with specific facilities to host the new LeverEdge University classes which began in early 2010. The University was developed to provide ongoing dealer technical training and enrichment efforts.
Bob Schabes and Ben Bentley sign papers turning The LeverEdge from a privately held S corporation, to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Also at this time, Mr. Bentley announced his retirement from The LeverEdge.