What does a penguin have to do with plumbing? Kendall owner Ray Brucki knows.

Creature Comforts

WhenPMfirst saw the truck photo from Kendall Plumbing, Heating and Air, we admit we had a few doubts. “What does a penguin have to do with plumbing?” we asked ourselves. To get the answer,PMcalled ownerRay Brucki.

“The penguin is the most comfortable creature on the planet,” Brucki informs us. “They’re unique and unusual in that they survive some of the most harsh, cold environments, and yet penguins can be found in tropical habitats as well.” And that’s the idea he wanted to convey to his customers: Kendall Plumbing can handle all your water and comfort needs.

Brucki has four service trucks with the penguin design. The first is a 3/4-ton Chevy service van. Three others are Chevy one-ton chassis with Unicell bodies, as showcased on this page. These are all-fiberglass bodies, a definite step up from Brucki’s first service vehicle: a pickup with sideboxes and pipe racks.

Kendall Plumbing was started in 1958 as a family-owned business in Yorkville, Ill. Brucki purchased the company from its original owners in 1977. His old truck graphics were truly “antiques.” They featured an aged, traditional plumbing and heating sign with gold and deep-orange oval banners.

This was not the modern image Brucki wanted for his company.

“We got to thinking that we wanted a new facelift for our identity,” Brucki says. A local company, Purple Creek Design, helped Kendall with its new look. “We wanted something refreshing with a nature angle - something to fit the new green appeal.”

After looking through a few other animal options, the penguin won hands-down. Especially after further research showed just how well the bird fit the company’s service image.

The trucks’ Unicell bodies are a perfect canvas for graphics. Without a design, the truck looks like a hard-boiled egg. It is seamless, and its all-fiberglass construction creates an aerodynamic appearance. The “bubble” aspect enlarges the interior as well, leaving a wide aisle for access from the backdoor and a generous height offering even for taller technicians.

The large, translucent ceiling filters light through to the space, making it easy to find parts and tools. Nighttime spotlights illuminate the truck for after-hours calls.

Brucki got a sweet deal on his set of trucks. They came from a fleet of Circuit City stores in Marietta, Ga. He purchased them at a “ridiculously low price” and was able to experience the trucks’ great fuel economy on the ride home.

“They were in beautiful condition,” says Brucki, as the Georgia weather is very forgiving on truck bodies.

In terms of customer feedback, the penguins have received a pleasant response. Kids especially remark to their driving parents, pointing at the exotic bird and making them look at the trucks.

“I’m very happy with the way things turned out,” admits Brucki. “This new look will definitely help us as we pursue our guerilla marketing campaign to appeal to customers.”

Show Us What You're Driving!

Think you have a vehicle worthy of PM's Truck Of The Month? Let us hear about it! Send us photos of your service fleet electronically by e-mailing us (Editor@PMmag.com), or mail us your prints to:
    PM - Truck Of The Month
    1050 IL route 83, suite 200
    Bensenville, IL 60106
PM's Truck Of The Month is sponsored by General Pipe Cleaners.