In 1896, great-grandpa Antonio came to Ybor City from Sicily following the American dream. He started working in a cigar factory and eventually saved enough to acquire some land and some cows and start his own little dairy farm. In between, he met and married another Italian transplant, Theresa. In 1916, their daughter Mary was born here in Ybor City in a home still standing on 19th Street. Eventually, Mary grew up and married Joe Leto, founder of an Ice production and delivery company that opened in the 1950s. Joe brought ice to Tampa residents to keep them cool and chill their ice boxes, since refrigeration wasn’t yet available, in the summer, and then delivered kerosene to keep them warm in the winter.
As times changed, and technologies developed, and as A/C became more widespread, Joe and Mary’s son Pete decided to take his electrical skills into this growing industry, founding Independent Air in 1990. Eventually, Pete’s son Joe took over day-to-day operations. Four generations of Tampa Bay residents, and three generations of Letos determined to keep Tampa residents comfortable. At Independent Air, we’re proud of our heritage and grateful for the opportunity to serve. Thank you Tampa Bay. We’re glad to be here. If you want a longer history, visit our site for the whole story!