By Denise M. Roberts
Pat’s Water, Inc. dba Radiant Water
518 W. Culver Ave. Orange, CA 92868
Toll-free: (800) 494-2678 • Tel: (714) 532-4776 Fax (714) 532-4726
Employees: Four full-time, one part-time Vehicles: Four
Websites: www.patswater.com www.radiantwater.com
Many companies set down roots in the early days of the water treatment industry and moved forward through the decades as family-owned, family-run businesses. Others have reinvented themselves after being sold or otherwise underwent management changes, retaining their traditional customers and products. Pat’s Water, Inc. (doing business as Radiant Water) will probably seem more than a little familiar to many readers.
Pat Salver, the current business owner, has his own history in the industry. While growing up, two of his next-door neighbors helped him get into the water business. Downstairs was Terry Thurber and upstairs, right next door, neighbors helped him get into the water business. Downstairs was Terry Thurber and upstairs, right next door, was Susan Pitts. Thurber took 15-yearold Salver and his friend Jim to work with him, installing ice lines and dishwashers for Vern’s Service in Long Beach during summer vacation. When the youths were about 16, they were introduced to water softeners. Salver started crawling under houses to run plumbing for the softeners and installing RO undersink units for Thurber. At 18, he went to work for Doug Horn at Pro Water Systems in Costa Mesa, building undersink RO units and light commercial systems, and selling them to the Water Factory and other companies.
A family friend introduced Salver to the Pipe Fitters Union, Local 250 when he was about 20. His association with the organization lasted for about a year, because work was slow and Salver didn’t want to wait around for a job. That’s when he spoke to Pitts, who just happened to be the daughter of the owner of King Industries International in Irvine. The company was building RO units and water softeners but didn’t do any service or warranty work in the field. When introduced, Brownie (as he was known in the industry) told Salver he could give him 24-hours-a-day worth of work. And King Industries started giving out his phone number (which he’s now had for 30 years!) for service or warranty work.
According to Salver, “King Industries also produced the Mecca boys of Performance Water products (Kris, Founder, President and CEO of Performance Water; John, Vice President; Mike, Director of Technical Services and Product Development and Past President of PWQA and Matt, Vice President Sales, General Manager Midwest Operations). Almost all of us in some way came from King Industries; even Doug Horn worked there. Some of my success comes from knowing the Meccas and also doing many RO installations and service for Coast Filtration in Brea.”
While much has changed over the years, Salver looks back with a sense of pride and accomplishment. “The water industry has been very good to me and my employees; they are paid well and deserve to be. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. If you do it right and take care of your customers and employees, you can be a success and make a comfortable living, because everybody needs good water.”
Today, Pat’s Water is located in an old Victorian home built in 1895 in the historic district of Old Town Orange. “We service an area of about 100 miles in any direction from our location and we will go almost anywhere,” said Salver. “Our market is southern California, and in 2010 we purchased Radiant Soft Water, which has been in business since 1947. After 60-plus years in the water conditioning business, the company continues its commitment to quality and service. We pride ourselves on honesty, quality, integrity and satisfied customers.”
Five employees, three service vans and one service truck see to the needs of some 6,000 customers. Salver’s sister, Brigitte Hill,is the Secretary and front office clerk. Service Technicians Cory Hildebrand (water softener and RO installer and technician), David Hinesly (20-year industry veteran, RO installer and service expert) and part-timer Jennifer Vanderham round out the team. Hildebrand and Hinesly also do sales calls and make sales in the field. Additionally, Salver trained his nephew for the water industry, though he now works for another company.
“We pride ourselves on the service aspect end of it; along with good service comes sales,” said Salver. “We service many large and small companies that have our equipment, like water coolers with RO units that need scheduled maintenance. We sell service and install water softeners, ROs, coolers and filters of all types; if we don’t carry it, we will find it. We also provide maintenance and installations on equipment for other water dealers who only do sales. We can and do provide same-day service. Our database is made up of approximately 6,000 strong or more of residential, office and commercial customers with some rentals. We would rather sell 50 RO units at a fair price than 10 at a high price.”
Salver has a game plan going forward that should continue to ensure his success. “Our five- and 10-year programs aim to take care of existing customers, so in the future they will come back to us for repeat business, just as we have done for the past 30 years. We do things right or not at all. That’s just the way it is and should be. Getting the phones to ring, keeping my employees on the job and happy, concentrating on customers who shop on the Internet, and lowering our prices when the economy is not doing so good are all considerations.”
There seems to be just one major downside to Salver’s game plan and it’s not something he can fight alone. “The water softener bans in California, like AB1366, certainly don’t help business. But, there are alternative choices for the consumer and this will bring us more opportunities.”