Jim Blau remembers one of the first plumbing trucks his father, Frank Blau Jr., owned.

Jim Blau remembers one of the first plumbing trucks his father, Frank Blau Jr., owned.

“I remember cleaning the tools out of the old Suburban so we could put the seats back in the truck and go to church on Sunday,” Blau says.

The Milwaukee, Wis.-based company has come a long way since the days of being located next to John’s Barber Shop where Jim, the current president of Blau Plumbing Inc., used to count inventory in the warehouse basement at night.

Blau Plumbing, which operates under “Blau Sudden Service” on Milwaukee’s northwest side, celebrated its 50th anniversary Feb. 1. The company was founded in 1960 by Frank Blau Jr., who later was the driving force behind the formation of what is now known as the Nexstar Network in 1992.

“We’re humbled by the accomplishment,” Jim Blau tells PM. “We’re thankful for the loyalty of our customers and the hard work of the hundreds of people that have been employed here over the years. We’re also thankful, without question, for the inspired leadership of Frank and Ed Blau (Frank’s brother). We hope we can have another 50 years.”

Jim Blau, who says ideas to celebrate the benchmark are being discussed, runs the company with his brother, Bob (vice president). Frank Blau Jr., a longtime champion of superior customer service in the industry, was named PM’s “Most Influential Contractor of the Past 25 Years” in the March 2009 issue and wrote a monthly column in the magazine for many years. Now 80, he is retired but serves in an advisory capacity and maintains an office at the company headquarters.     

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