Cold Comfort

O'Fallon commerical refrigeration leader True Manufacturing is still red-hot after 70 years. Now, a new line of refined products is catching fire with residential customers.

By Barbara E. Stefano
Photography courtesy of True Manufacturing


After 70 years as a worldwide leader in commercial refrigeration, True Manufacturing is warming up to residential consumers in a big way. The O’Fallon-based company, which manufactures locally and sells commercial refrigerators and freezers to over 95 countries, now is being welcomed into private homes worldwide.

True Refrigeration launched its True Residential Series in 2008, and the line now offers homeowners commercial-quality wine cabinets, refrigerators, beverage centers, refrigeration drawers, beer dispensers, a clear ice machine and a full-size, side-by-side refrigerator/freezer. According to Steve Proctor, director of sales and marketing, every product is made to professional standards, but tailored for residential use.

"For years, homeowners have been placing our commercial refrigeration in their homes and asking us for one that is quieter and more refined,” owner Steve Trulaske says. “Now, home chefs have a commercial refrigerator refined for their home.”

Like any self-respecting, family-founded company, True sprouted out of a home operation. Born in the St. Louis basement of the Trulaske family in 1945, the brand became the go-to commercial bottle-cooler supplier for Coca-Cola, RC Cola, Pepsi-Cola and Nehi within a few short years.

With limited resources early on and no formal R&D facility, Bob Trulaske and his father, Frank (and later, brother Art) relied on clever product testing. They shipped prototypes to the brutal proving ground of Puerto Rico, where the blistering heat and humidity could push the designs’ limits. Once the units survived the rigors of a steamy, salty environment, the Trulaskes knew they would thrive anywhere.

That kind of punishing testing ensures that commercial products survive and guarantees that the residential products that have spun out of those technologies will keep beverages, foods and ice appropriately frosty. The foray into home refrigeration has spawned the True 42, True Refrigeration's first full-size, side-by-side residential refrigerator/freezer.

“True’s ability to build great-looking stainless-steel refrigerators for commercial applications lent itself well to go into the home. Our ability to do this so well in a commercial environment proved to be a great opportunity to dip our toe into the residential market.”

Far from one-size-fits-all solutions, most of True's refrigeration units can be adapted to a homeowner’s unique structural and functional needs. “Our refrigeration products have been installed in designs ranging from ultra-modern to very traditional to industrial kitchens. The ability to have a glass or solid door, as well as stainless steel or an overlay panel, readily allows for our products to be used in a wide variety of spaces,” says Proctor. “To get the perfect solution for your needs and home, it’s best to work with a designer to communicate your desires and ensure your personality comes out in the kitchen.”

True Manufacturing, 800-325-6152