Sanford Plumbing in East Liverpool Has New Ownership

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio – A business that has been a mainstay in the city’s East End for 50 years is now under new ownership, but owner Rick Rudibaugh said services will remain the same at Sanford Plumbing.

The business, 1725 Pennsylvania Ave., started out as Bennett Plumbing, when the rear portion of the existing building used to be a service station and the current garage was used as a grocery store, Rudibaugh said.

In 1947, it became Sanford and Son Plumbing under the ownership of the Sanford family, and then in 1999, the business was purchased by Greg Eisenhart, who sold the enterprise to Rudibaugh on Sept. 23.

When Eisenhart decided to retire, he asked Rudibaugh if he was interested in purchasing the business.

“That’s what got the wheels turning that I could own something of this magnitude. Greg has been such a great person to deal with through this whole process,” Rudibaugh said, outlining the many “moving parts” involved in taking over the plumbing business, including customers, inventory and licensing.

Rudibaugh, a city native and resident of the Pleasant Heights neighborhood with his wife, Angela, and two children, had been a part of the Sanford Plumbing operation since 2004, working in service and with plumbing calls until he started working full time as a city police dispatcher. He also worked in landscaping since 2002 and started Rudibaugh Landscaping.

Sanford Plumbing operates with two crews of two workers, one that performs primarily residential service and one that mainly does plumbing for commercial, industrial and new construction.

One of the projects under contract by the company is the new Chipotle restaurant being built in Calcutta.

Rudibaugh said the company offers services such as utility lines, new water and sewer lines, replacement and repair of existing lines – what he calls “typical plumbing.”

But the shop sitting along the busy route connecting East Liverpool to Pennsylvania also is a mecca for those who need just about anything related to plumbing. It isn’t unusual to see customers from Pennsylvania and nearby West Virginia looking for items.

According to Rudibaugh, when the showroom was built, the former owners planned on stocking it with items such as tub surrounds, vanities, toilets and more. Then, Rudibaugh said, the big box stores came along, allowing people to easily purchase those items off the floor at a somewhat lower cost.

“That crushed their idea on that. We can still get all of that here, but it’s an order,” he said.

However, faucets, trim, fittings and just about every other plumbing need for the do-it-yourselfer is available somewhere among countless shelves, counters and bins of supplies. Customers stopping in one recent day seemed confident they can find what they need at Sanford’s.

But if he doesn’t have it, Rudibaugh won’t hesitate to recommend that a customer should go to a local hardware store to see if it is available there.

This hometown atmosphere is evident in the business and with Rudibaugh’s service.

“If someone has something go wrong, we will try to get an employee out right away. Taking care of our customers is our main goal,” he said. “I want it to be known when someone needs a plumber, I want it to be us. I want it to be known we are ‘the’ plumbing shop.”

Although admitting that “right now, it’s survival mode with the economy the way it is,” Rudibaugh said at some point in the future he would like to add to his roster of five full-time employees and also increase the services offered.

Until then, he advises, “If somebody needs something and can’t find it anywhere else, if they come here, most likely we’ve got it.”

Sanford Plumbing is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, with a full-time office manager to accept calls at 330 386 5191.

Pictured at top: Rick Rudibaugh, the new owner of Sanford Plumbing in East Liverpool.

Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.