As told to Curtis Allen in 1998 by Bob Allen, Owner 1956 - 1989
Well, lets see...
It was back in 19 and 56 when Ralph Gilbert, owner of 'Texas Plumbing Co.' decided he was closing operations in Houston and moving. This left a dilemma, of sorts, for all the workers who preferred to stay in town. So Mr. Gilbert, being appreciative of the good workers he had over the years, offered us a deal. We could buy our service truck from him and pickup a few of the customers from the company and start our own business. One can only imagine the doubts, fears and hopes that all were going on in the minds of those dedicated workers. Not to mention the wives who heard the story and the intentions of their husbands that evening. It was trying times.
Times were tough at first, for the newly formed 'Allen Plumbing Company'. Doing remodel, new construction and repair at the time, it was a juggle. But with baby number two on the way and no steady income yet, we took what we could get. Several strokes of good luck with business contacts helped to set the company apart from the others.
One day I met a man by the name of Jim Westbrook. He was a repair man for a new appliance on the market which only the wealthiest of homes had at the time. The appliance? A dishwasher. Those in the River Oaks community all either had one or wanted one. Jim Westbrook sold and serviced them, and handed out business cards of a plumber he thought highly of; Bob Allen. The upper class neighborhood was still new then and the residents were highly dependent on referrals for good contractors. Word of mouth was then, and is now, the best form of advertising. There were other tradesmen who helped each other, painters, carpenters, etc. They were all in this together, everyone wanted a good reputation in a neighborhood sure to be a hub of the city.
There were then and are now, many famous and well known personalities we provide service for. We won't disclose names as their privacy is important to us much more than self-promotion.
Later on, when the clientele was more established, there was less need to do new construction or remodel. That part of the business was phased out. Labor problems along with the numbers of it all, pointed to a more secure, stable business doing only repair."
The basic theory behind the success of the company is give the customer what they want and need. So many contractors today will sell new fixtures when the old one can be repaired. Allen Plumbing Company is a repair company. We'll recommend replacement if it's necessary, but if it can be repaired and that's what the customer wants, we will fix it. We pride ourselves on having the parts on the truck and the knowledge to do just that. Those principals are the reason we endure to serve you today.