By Denise M. Roberts
Aarrow Plumbing & Water Treatment
2159 Henderson Loop • Richland, WA 99354
Toll-free: (800) 260-5737
Tel: (509) 374-3333
Fax: (509) 371-1903
Employees: 17 • Vehicles: 15
Established in 2001, Aarow Plumbing started as a small subcontracting outfit for a handful of custom homebuilders. The first month saw a mere five contracts for the company, but the housing boom quickly increased business to an average of 45 contracts per month.
Travis Mullins is sole proprietor of the company. His father Dave runs the Service Plumbing Division and company spokesman Matt Mahany oversees the Water Treatment Division. Rounding out Aarrow’s new construction and service plumbing divisions are 14 additional personnel who provide service to the tri-cities (Kennewick, Richland and Pasco) and surrounding areas from Yakima to Spokane in eastern Washington.
Mahany describes Travis as having two great passions: plumbing and motocross racing. “He is one of the hardest working plumbers in the tri-cities and enjoys getting his hands dirty,” says Mahany. “And Dave, with 35 years of experience, always has answers for the problems we encounter.”
Into the trenches
A former rep for Intermountain WaterTM, Mahany previously lived in Nampa, ID, but traveled regularly between Utah and Washington. His task was to help Aarrow and other builders and plumbers with water quality problems. On several occasions, Dave asked him to join the company and start a water division. In 2006, Mahany did just that with the blessing and goodwill of his former employer.
“Who better to treat your water than your plumber?” Mahany asks. “It’s important to help plumbers learn why water was so crucial to their business and why they needed to be the experts on water quality, not just how to get it from place to place.
“I’d helped many plumbers and have a passion for helping people get better water for their homes and businesses. I have lots of good friends in the plumbing and water treatment industry and I love what I do! But I hadn’t gotten into the trenches with them. After much thought and research, I decided it was the right move for me.”
Growth through change
Keeping up with the changing economy is the biggest challenge most companies face, including Aarrow. Credit restrictions, vendor cash-on-delivery policies and purchase reluctance from end-users have caused the firm to carefully hone its sales and marketing strategies. That includes greater use of digital media such as the Internet.
With the help of the Smart Dealer network, the company has raised its annual water sales 25-fold by adding a few quality products such as Mr. Smart Bottle®, PRO Series softeners and Next ScaleStop™. Aarrow also maintains its strong presence in new home construction, remodels and commercial plumbing.
New water treatment model
“Aarrow will continue to focus more on high-tech water treatment options, periodic system service and disinfection, using products like Pur-Gard and following the SP-5000 disinfection protocol,” Mahany predicts. “Customers are beginning to realize that softeners grow bacteria and suffer attrition-based performance loss, requiring periodic maintenance and disinfection.
“As more people become aware of the need for cleaner water, they will expect the industry to have the answers to their water quality issues. Consumers who are unhappy with utility-grade city water and well water will want additional options and the environmentally conscious will demand alternatives, such as salt-free systems.”
Mahany says Aarrow is ready for the next set of challenges. The repair plumbing division continues to grow while the water treatment division is fast becoming the flagship of the business. “We believe in honesty, attitude, respect and order. We strive to make customers for life and to give them the service they deserve always promising less and delivering more.”