For three generations, brothers of the Smith family have started, expanded and established a family plumbing business, Central Arizona Supply, that is now the industry’s largest independently owned family business in the Southwest.
Bob and Harry Smith first opened a small shop in Mesa 47 years ago when they realized there was no plumbing store in the East Valley. In the late 1970s, their sons Don, David and Dan expanded the business by adding multiple locations—including one in Central Phoenix—selling the industry’s newest products and serving plumbers as well as homeowners looking to buy plumbing supplies direct.
Today, the next generation of brothers, Jeremy and Brandon Smith, has expanded the showroom and wholesale sides of the business. Central Arizona Supply now has more than 110 employees, nine Arizona locations with seven showrooms, a 75,000-square-foot distribution center and four divisions including plumbing, showroom, commercial and heating and air.
“About 20 years ago, the plumbing supply industry in Arizona was almost exclusively independent businesses, but a shift began a few years back with the national chains buying out all the mom-and-pop operations,” explains Jeremy, who lives in North Central Phoenix. “Then came the recession, which shaped us very deeply. We saw the few remaining family businesses in the industry sell or shutter.”
Jeremy said the generations of family members with Central Arizona Supply who came before him had passed along lessons learned, such as how to be successful by working smarter, not growing too quickly or making bad risks. “At the end of the day, we need to support our family and the families that work for us,” Jeremy pointed out. “For me and my brother, it is about maintaining the relationships my grandfather, father and uncles have built here in Arizona for almost 50 years. We’ve been able to find our niche and offer customers things that the national chains can’t touch.”
Jeremy took the lead on the company’s increased showroom offering, bringing high-level design products from around the world to Arizona. Rather than customers having to get the newest products from Los Angeles, New York or online, the showrooms carry everything from basics in plumbing, hardware and lighting to the most unique, hard-to-find national and international brands on the market.
Seven showrooms in Arizona, including one at 4750 N. 16th St., showcase faucets, bathtubs, toilets, fixtures, hardware and lighting options starting from a $100 Delta faucet to $10,000 TOTO Neorest toilet. The North Central Phoenix regular store hours are 6:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays. The showroom is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, call the store directly at 602-943-3488 or visit www.centralazsupply.com.