Bill Carberry founded Cap-A Radiator in 1982 after purchasing a Cap-A Radiator franchise off the original owner and franchiser, Joe Fels. Unfortunately, the radiator and air conditioning repair industry, once a bustling business with over 17,000 official shops in the 1970s, fell flat on its face and the original Cap-A Radiator in Oceanside, just as every other radiator shop in Nassau County and one in Suffolk, went out of business.
However, Bill Carberry is very resilient. He took his little radiator shop in Farmingdale and adapted it over the years because of his passion for classic cars and his amazing skills. And, I suppose, the fact that he really didn't want to go into some other industry or work for anyone else.
Bill's story (which, by the way, is Cap-Radiator's story) is a very impressive one. If Bill were a millennial, he'd be called a "serial entrepreneur," but he's not. He was thinking of (and acting on) ways to build his business before the first millennial was even born. In the late 1990s, he founded Northeast Plastic Tanks, a company that supplied parts and tools to the radiator industry. He also happened to sell the business shortly before the plastic tank radiator repair industry began its collapse. He did this to make room in the three-bay shop to expand his vintage radiator and heater repair business and begin restoring antique cars (starting with a restoration of his own 1959 Ford Galaxie).
Once Bill had the right personnel in place, he decided that it was time to expand his repair business to modern cars, as well. The business took off immediately. And why not? He had a loyal customer base built in from over three and a half decades in Farmingdale in the radiator and air conditioning business. In the summer of 2018, Bill moved his operations a half-mile down the street to a larger shop, where Cap-A Radiator works side-by-side with Star Transmissions.