EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio — A business that has been a mainstay in the city’s East End for 50 years is now under new ownership, but owner Rick Rudibaugh said Sanford Plumbing’s services will remain the same.
The company, 1725 Pennsylvania Ave., began as Bennett Plumbing when the back of the existing building was formerly a gas station and the current garage was used as a grocery store, Rudibaugh said.
In 1947 it became Sanford and Son Plumbing owned by the Sanford family and in 1999 the company was purchased by Greg Eisenhart who sold the company to Rudibaugh on 23 September.
When Eisenhart decided to retire, he asked Rudibaugh if he was interested in buying the company.
“It got the wheels turning that I could own something of this magnitude. Greg has been a great person to deal with throughout this process,” said Rudibaugh, outlining the many “moving parts” involved in acquiring the plumbing business, including customers, inventory and licenses.
Rudibaugh, a native of the city and a resident of the Pleasant Heights neighborhood with his wife Angela and two children, had been part of the Sanford Plumbing operation since 2004, working in service and with plumbing calls until he began working full-time as a city police officer. Since 2002 he has also worked in landscaping and founded Rudibaugh Landscaping.
Sanford Plumbing operates with two crews of two workers, one primarily providing domestic services and one primarily undertaking commercial, industrial and new construction plumbing work.
One of the projects contracted by the company is the new Chipotle restaurant that is being built in Kolkata.
Rudibaugh said the company offers services such as utility lines, new water and sewer lines, replacement and repair of existing lines – what he calls “typical plumbing.”
But the shop on the busy road that connects East Liverpool to Pennsylvania is also a mecca for anyone who needs just about anything plumbing-related. It’s not uncommon to see shoppers from Pennsylvania and nearby West Virginia searching for items.
According to Rudibaugh, when the showroom was built, the previous owners planned to outfit it with items like tub surrounds, vanities, toilets, and more. Then, Rudibaugh said, came the big department stores, which allowed people to easily buy these items off the floor at a slightly lower cost.
“That killed her idea of doing it. We can still get all of this here, but it’s an order,” he said.
However, faucets, faucets, faucets, and just about every other plumbing supply for the home handyman are available somewhere between myriad shelves, counters, and storage containers. Customers who stopped by recently seemed confident they would find what they needed at Sanford’s.
But if he doesn’t have it, Rudibaugh doesn’t hesitate to recommend a customer to go to a local hardware store to see if it’s available there.
That hometown atmosphere is evident in Rudibaugh’s business and service.
“If something goes wrong with someone, we will try to get an employee out immediately. Serving our customers is our main goal,” he said. “I want it to be known, if anyone needs a plumber, I want it to be us. I want it to be known that we are “the” plumber.”
Although Rudibaugh admitted that “at the moment it’s survival mode with the economy the way it is,” Rudibaugh said, at some point in the future he would expand his roster of five full-time employees and also expand the services offered.
Until then, his advice is: “If someone needs something and can’t find it anywhere else, come here, we most likely have it.”
Sanford Plumbing is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with a full-time office manager answering calls at 330.386.5191.
Pictured above: Rick Rudibaugh, the new owner of Sanford Plumbing in East Liverpool.
Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.