Business Matters: Shobu’s Refrigeration & Air Conditioning

Business Matters

Thank goodness for air conditioning during these hot summer months.

Tonight, we introduce you to a man who’s finally chilling after years of chilling others in this Business Matters report. 

Clayton Shobu is  a man with many passions. He loves his family, his dogs, and loves to get out in the surf.

“Basically these boards here are all wall hangers. This is the only one I actually ride. Yep, it has the wax on it,” Shobu explains.

Shobu says he’s at a point in life where it’s just as important, if not more, to play than to work. But when it comes to his job, it’s pretty simple. He’s in the business of keeping people cool.

“Basically we do all types of air conditioning, commercial refrigeration, redo a lot of different projects, try to get everybody to be cool and comfortable,” Shobu said about his business Shobu’s Refrigeration & Air Conditioning.

After more than 33 years in the business Shobu is finally comfortable, but it wasn’t always that way.

In fact, just a couple years into his business, he was the one sweating.

“In 1985, I started the business and in 1987 we were so busy doing a lot of work and hiring people and then unfortunately we basically fell behind on every day stuff I didn’t realize,” Shobu recalled. “I didn’t understand the need to cover overhead and everything else, and next thing we know we were $200,000 in the hole.”

Luckily he says his wholesaler allowed him to pay back the debt over time, and that within about two years the business was back on track.

That’s also where his family comes in.

“Luckily my daughter is a business major so she is able to give me a little bit more guidance and I got good accountants and they could tell us how to do everything with the business,” Shobu explains.

He says every day was a new learning experience, and all was well until the year 2000.

“Everything was going fine. I had five men and the secretary, but that year in October I was diagnosed with head and neck cancer so I had to try to figure out how I was going to still run the business,” Shobu said.

Fortunately he says his family and other employees stepped up while he was battling the disease, and that through it all he gained a completely new perspective.

“The good and bad of the situation, the bad of course the cancer. But the good was when I came back I was able to look at my vision and see what I was doing wrong what we needed to do to increase revenue and the change completely,” Shobu said.

“It’s really cool because he’s been through it all financially, being sick, coming out of that. He had a whole new look on life coming out of that,” Shobu’s daughter Sara said.

Today he has 40 employees who have allowed him the opportunity to find something he never enjoyed over the bulk of his career.

Balance.

“It took a long time to figure that out. Basically when I started the business I quit surfing for 25 years. I had the business, I raised my daughters,” Shobu said. “And when my daughter got old enough to drive, I said now it’s my turn and now i’m surfing again.”

In fact, he’s out on a surf trip out of the country right now.

He said the key to his success is to surround yourself with good people — in Shobu’s case, family, good employees, good friends — and they will pull you through in the tough time.

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