In the past 30 years or so, Guilfoyle Ambulance in Watertown has been able to buck the trend. The privately owned business just keeps growing. As our Brian Dwyer reports, it's finally found a place to move everything into. A place it feels comfortable calling home.
WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- "We were bursting at the seams down below," Guilfoyle Ambulance General Manager Dave Sherman said of his company's former home.
It wasn't that long ago, 15 years or so, that Guilfoyle Ambulance started expanding. It had to. As the community grew, so did the need.
"We were about 40 to 50 employees at that time," Sherman said. "Now we're up to 120."
With that growth it seemed no matter how big the building got, Guilfoyle was bigger.
"We had outgrown parking. We'd outgrown the living facilities. We needed to make a move," Sherman said.
So this summer, Guilfoyle bought an old health supplies plant. It's the Covidian building you can see from 81. It has 77,000 square feet. The company that owned it was best known for making thermometers. Renovations began immediately and were actually much easier than anyone thought.
"That was a nice thing because the facility was in good shape as far as cleanliness. When you think of a factory, you think of dirt, grime and grease. But because of the type of product they were making, that wasn't the case," Sherman said.
A few weeks ago, Guilfoyle moved in. There's several rooms for meetings. There's an area for dispatch. It has a garage big enough to house every vehicle in the fleet and a mechanic’s shop to fix them all. There's a break room living area with a full kitchen.
It also has massive spots for big training sessions. Guilfoyle hopes that will be something that draws departments from all over.
"One of the bigger things you hear in the EMS field is there's so many hours of training required, yet there's not very many places to find it," Sherman said.
There's also a store. It offers everything you could possibly need in an ambulance. It's another way to help local departments from having to deal with suppliers.
"That store actually got its start because one of the local volunteer ambulance companies came in and said we just need a couple of products and they're telling us we've got to buy a whole case," Sherman added.
If all that wasn't enough, there's also a couple of rooms where Guilfoyle can host weddings, fashion shows, all sorts of events. A great way to be involved in the community and also help make some money to support operations.
"The more that we can bring in, the more we can do. That makes it more available for more people," Sherman added.
The area is known as the Bruce M. Wright Memorial Conference Center. Wright is Guilfoyle's late owner.
"It's an honor," Wright's son Bruce said. "His name on the building just kind of lets his name live on through many different things other than EMS. We're able to give back to the community with that."
In 2012, Guilfoyle responded to more than 8,000 calls. Its old home on Newell Street is for sale.