So who the heck is Mel?
Mel Modern has been a family business since it was established in 1934. Joseph Bartini started doing work in Great Neck and Manhasset in 1936 servicing mostly commercial refrigeration and air conditioning equipment. In 1938, Joseph established his business as Modern Refrigeration and moved it to 158 Main Street in Port Washington. Our company’s focus on customer service was evident even then as Joseph kept his Manhasset phone number so that his Great Neck customers would only have to pay a nickel for the call instead of the dime it would cost to call Port Washington. The importance of saving their customers a nickel per call during the Depression wasn't lost on the fledgling company.
Modern Refrigeration serviced primarily commercial refrigeration and air conditioning equipment. But as the residential use of refrigeration and air conditioning grew, Joseph expanded the business into that area as well.
In 1954 Joseph passed away and his wife, Marguerite, took over the business and incorporated it with two partners, Eddie and Larry, who used to work for Joseph as servicemen. The three owners used their initials to come up with the new name of the business: Mel Modern Refrigeration and Appliance Company.
By 1957, Marguerite was the principal of Mel Modern and her son, Paul, began working in the company. Paul had gone on service calls with his father as young as age 9, carrying his own tool box. Following graduation from SUNY-Farmingdale in 1961 with an associate’s degree in Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Technology, Paul worked full-time in the business and gradually took over for his mother.
Mel Modern moved from 158 Main St to current location on 15 Munson St. in 1979, increasing the shop size from 1800 to over 4200 square feet; plenty of room for a sheet metal shop. Marguerite retired from doing the books for the business in 1985 and Paul’s wife, Sonja, took over the bookkeeping end of the business.
The company name changed to Mel Modern Systems in 1989, and PB Inc. took over in 1993. All three of Paul and Sonja’s children, Kristin, Maria, and Adam, have worked in the business at some point in time either in the office or doing service and installations.