Idaho Mountain Express feature

Local newspaper, Idaho Mountain Express, features Rocky Mountain Express father and son team.


Joe and Paul Yelda
Rocky Mountain Appliance Service

Customers love father-son businesses, says Joe Yelda, 62, because whenever they call, they get to speak to an owner. Moreover, they feel comfortable with the long-term stability that family businesses generally have; after 29 years in business, Joe’s finding himself repairing appliances belonging to the children of his early customers.

There’s a nice benefit to the business owners, too—Joe and Paul, 33, can trade off vacation times knowing there’s someone reliable in charge while they’re gone. During the past two years, Joe spent five weeks in New Zealand and Paul spent five weeks in India.

Joe had a brief career teaching school after earning a teaching degree from San Diego State University. But after being shocked by the low salaries proposed to him for teaching jobs, he went to work for Whirlpool as a service manager in Idaho Falls. When Whirlpool later proposed to relocate him to the Midwest, he said “no thanks,” and moved to Hailey instead to start his own business.

Now Joe works Mondays through Thursdays, and Paul works Tuesdays through Fridays, both of them often putting in 10-hour days. Theirs is a recession-proof job; in fact, Joe says, since the economic downturn, customers are more often asking him, “Can I get a couple more years out of this?”

Joe says that with increasing social emphasis on children going to college, father-son businesses in the trades aren’t as common as they used to be. That’s a shame, he says, because that type of business, if done correctly, can provide both a good living and pleasant working conditions.

“People say, ‘You guys have the best working relationship of anybody I know.'”

Joe said he isn’t even thinking about retiring.

“We haven’t even talked about that,” he says. “We’re loving how it’s worked out.”