By Denise M. Roberts
N.M.P. Water Systems (NMP) is as family-owned as it gets. The sole proprietorship was started by Ed Van Overloop in 1985. It is currently owned and operated by his grandson, Timothy Van Overloop, who got his start 25 years ago, working with his grandfather. “I absolutely love the water treatment business,” says Van Overloop. “It’s a rewarding career in many facets. Basically, you are helping people have quality, healthy water throughout their home. Customers show their appreciation and gratitude on a daily basis.”
NMP originally stood for Nature’s Market Place, a health food store in Ridgewood, NJ, owned by Van Overloop’s grandparents from 1975-2005. The business flourished in the early years as their customers’ quest for quality, organic food, beverages, vitamins and other healthy products coincided with their thirst for pure water. “I grew up working in the store and helping my grandpa out on the road with sales, service and installations,” Van Overloop says. “I worked with him off and on through my teenage and college years. He always told me it was a great business and I would be crazy not to get involved.”
Taking the reins
Upon graduating from Fordham University-New York in 2003, Van Overloop worked in the corporate world for two years but despised the white-collar scene. He said farewell to corporate America and joined the family business in 2005. “My grandfather always taught me the value of the dollar and exemplified this by having me buy the business from him rather than just handing it over. I started from square one, doing basic installations of drinking water systems, servicing existing equipment, testing water, etc. As my grandfather slowed down (and eventually passed away in 2007 at the age of 80), the business also slowed. It was my duty to salvage what was left of the old business (50 to 60 customers as opposed to 400 to 500 in the early 90s) and begin building the business back to full strength. Five years later, we are thriving. From 2008 to 2009, we tripled our gross income (in an economic downturn) and are on track to double our revenue this year.”
To keep up with the pace of company activity, everyone wears many hats. Van Overloop is the primary salesman and lead installer. Joseph Czyzewski, Operations Manager, installs and takes care of all sales and service in New York City, Long Island and Westchester County. The team is rounded out with Technician/Installer Philip Guarnuccio, who performs daily shop work, pickups, deliveries, service calls, and assists on all installations. Tiny Brooks Van Overloop often ‘helps’ his father and is looking like the next-generation water treatment specialist. They serve a region that encompasses the New York and New Jersey metropolitan area, about a 75-mile radius, with three service/installation vehicles. “We will go anywhere within a day’s drive (5 to 6 hours) of New York City as a special consideration,” said Van Overloop.
NMP became a Water Quality Association member earlier this year. Van Overloop is currently studying for WQA Water Specialist certification. Czyzewski and Guarnuccio are studying for WQA installer certifications. “We plan to take (and pass) our tests this fall. We’ve already attended the Pentek/Pentair University seminar on their valves and products, which we install and service on a daily basis. Our best training however, is the day-to-day, on-the-job variety. We problem-solve and figure out what works and what does not,” Van Overloop says.
The New York metro area, with a myriad of water profiles, runs the entire gambit of problematic water contamination and NMP tries to be prepared for everything. Each customer receives an individual profile and a review of their filtration options and budget, allowing the company to create a unique package. Most customers choose a combination of POU/POE equipment. “We custom-build softeners, carbon units, pH neutralizers and iron/sulfur air injection units,” says Van Overloop. “Our best selling units are RO systems. Instead of installing pre-built, generic ROs, we build our own with a unique variation: they are alkaline, which raises pH and replenishes minerals lost during the RO process. This is very unique on the East Coast, although it has gained some popularity on the West Coast. We have many options from basic, inexpensive set-ups to full boats with every option in the book and everything in between. High-end designer faucets, Insta-Hots, chillers, bottleless water coolers are just a few of the items we also sell, and we stand by all of our equipment with a guaranteed 10-year warranty on equipment and workmanship.”
The company is a full-service water filtration contractor. Van Overloop’s grand- father focused primarily on purified drinking water systems, but things have changed. “We’ve linked up with numerous kitchen designers, builders and general contractors, and are now a key contractor on various building/renovation sites,” Van Overloop says. “We work in conjunction with project electricians, plumbers, carpenters and other specialists. Instead of ‘whacking in’ equipment with ‘hack-and-strap’ techniques, we take our time to do a beautiful, custom-filtration job at each home and business. This includes immaculate plumbing and drain work, building of custom shelves/walls/enclosures for our equipment, custom trim and bracketing work. We strive to be more than a water filtration dealer. We build custom equipment and filtration packages and then do a well-rounded, professional installation. We truly are a contractor as opposed to a dealer. No short cuts, no nonsense, commercial-grade work, every time.”
“Municipal and well water supplies are not getting any better; therefore, water treatment is here to stay and is only going to grow rapidly in coming years. Remaining in the business is almost assured job security. There is nothing more rewarding to me than working diligently in a home or business and then hearing the owners say: ‘You guys did an awesome job; the work is meticulous and the water is outstanding.’ Our goal is to purchase a commercial building and open a full-fledged water filtration retail store and workshop in north Jersey (Bergen County). We want people to be able to come in, have their water tested, see working examples of our craftsmanship and peruse all of the beautiful fixtures and accessories we sell. Kind of ‘what’s in your water and wouldn’t you love to have this set-up in your home/business’ concept. My grandfather always said, ‘If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing right’ and ‘always work in a customer’s home as if you are working in your own home’. We live by those commandments. Hopefully, I will be able to pass on this great business and this knowledge on to my son, just as my grandfather did with me.”