As a third-generation plumber, Berner grew up in the family plumbing business, Berner Plumbing,
By 1996, Berner had returned to the plumbing world, facing about 16 months to complete his journeyman’s plumbing license requirements. It was not until the spring of 2003 that he attended the Water Quality Association’s annual convention in Las Vegas where he joined a round table discussion group in which one dealer stood out from the rest … Aqua Systems out of Avon, Indiana. Impressed by their business model, Berner approached the presenters about the idea of taking on a plumber to expand their service offerings. Now, when he visits a home, he can do much more than simply install a softener or an RO unit.
Now two years later, Berner’s unique approach to providing clean water is catching on. The company is expanding, serving nearly 500 customers in DuPage and Kane County. With a need to hire additional “cross-trainable,” employees, Water Wërks has also expanded its product and service lines further beyond the traditional offerings of a water dealer, delivering bottled water under the Aqua Systems label. The move has been so successful that a fleet expansion is planned for 2005.
And if all that weren’t enough to draw in customers, Water Wërks offers an ever-expanding array of promotional and free offers to entice new customers and up sale existing ones, including a free sanitizing service, free upgrades on all coolers with the WaterGuard® UV filter/valve, free basic water analysis testing, incentives to upgrade to a POU cooler, newsletter sign up offers and even restaurant gift cards for prepaying for six months or more of bottled water.
The Water Wërks name, like the company itself, is steeped in his family’s plumbing tradition and reflects the unique direction Berner has taken his company in. The Bernër Family came over to this country from Germany before World War II and as homage to his father and grandfather and his heritage, the Water Wërks name (with its unique ë) is a public memorial, Berner said.
With the history of providing quality plumbing services and the foresight to see the future of the water treatment industry, Berner and Water Wërks are paving the way for the water dealer/plumbers of the next generation – and leaving the competition in the dust.