When George Anderson started his electrical contracting business, plenty of Verona homes still had knob-and-tube wiring. Replacing those antiquated tangles of wires with something safer became a staple job. But if that was all Anderson had done with his business, he probably wouldn’t still be in business to celebrate a major milestone: the 20th anniversary of Anderson Electric.
Over the last two decades, Verona-based Anderson Electric has grown to become one of the biggest electrical contractors in our area, handling both residential and commercial accounts. It still occasionally gets calls to replace K&T wiring, but has expanded into computer network wiring, landscape lighting, safety and security systems, home and office automation, green lighting and solar panels, electrical inspections for buyers and sellers, and something that has been in high demand as storms have whipped through Verona: home generators.
“After all the storms, people are concerned about losing power for days at a time. People have to have power and the Internet,” Anderson says with a smile. And they have to have them in many locations. Anderson has recently done work on the shore homes of some of his Verona customers, installing security systems that they can monitor from their iPhones without leaving Verona.
While Anderson has kept the technical skills of his crews up to date, his wife Cathy has modernized the marketing of the business. She’s the force behind its Web site and e-mail newsletter, and she’s become a master at using Google AdWords to get the Anderson Electric name onto the right places on the Internet at the right time. “Ten years ago, nobody asked us to e-mail them job proposals,” says George Anderson. “Now, even 70-year-olds want it.”
The newsletter gives plenty of safety tips and reasons to call for an estimate, but Cathy Anderson has made sure it does something equally important: connect with customers as friends and neighbors. There’s often a recipe included, and tips on day trips, many of which we’ve picked up in the pages of MyVeronaNJ.com. (Full disclosure: Anderson Electric has improved much of the wiring at my house.)
The Andersons are natives of Belleville who followed friends and cousins west to Verona in 1993. “My business really took off when we moved to Verona, ” George Anderson says. ” This is where it grew”.
As parents of two school-age children, they became involved a variety of school and sports activities here. Cathy Anderson was in on the first Tricky Tray at Laning Avenue School, while George Anderson coached for Verona Eagles and Verona Junior Wrestling. And both have been active at Our Lady of the Lake. George did the Cornerstone program at OLL and highly recommends it. “It was a phenomenal experience,” he says, everybody should do that.”
Verona’s electrical needs have changed in 20 years. George Anderson often now finds himself retrofitting houses with energy-saving LED systems. But it is still the kind of place where neighbors will pop by with advice on wine. “The great thing about being in this town,” says George Anderson, “is that we have so many customers who are also friends. Verona has been very good to me.”