From a one person working out of the owner’s home to 27 employees in a brand new building at 1218 W. South St. in Benton, Mid-Town Plumbing continues to grow and serve not only Saline County but across the state.
Jim Kuhlmann started the business in November 2013 and his wife, Hailey, joined him in 2015.
“He was a one-man operation,” Hailey said.
Before he started his own business, Jim worked for a property management company handling all its plumbing. He began by doing commercial work, such as new builds and remodels.
In 2014, he hired his first employees.
Before the new building on South Street in Benton, where they moved Dec. 30, 2020, Mid-Town operated out of a shop near the Kuhlmann’s home.
Project Manager Billy Adams knew the person who owned the property and helped connect them with the Kuhlmann’s. After they bought it they built the new building.
They used Jones Development for the work.
The new building features a conference room for meetings and planning and bidding jobs. Jim has an office where he leads the construction crews.
Hailey and other administrative staff members insisted they wanted a large open shared space because they need to be able to communicate easily. There is also a shop in the back of the building.
Hailey said the plumbers sometimes come to the office first, but often they head out immediately on the jobs. They take their trucks home so they can get started first thing.
She said the new spot is great. It offers an easy on and off the interstate and she hopes it will bring more business as more people see it on their to or from work. She hopes when people need plumbing, they think of Mid-Town.
She said many of the businesses in the area have been cleaning up to really give the area a nicer look.
Hailey said the community has been welcoming.
“They really wrapped their arms around us,” she said.
She and her husband are both excited be a part of the community.
Mid-Town is a member of both the Benton Area Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Bryant Chamber of Commerce. They support sports at Benton Schools, Bryant Schools and Harmony Grove. They also support local events.
They want to be people’s hometown option for residential and commercial plumbing needs.
Of the 27 employees, 17 are on the construction crew, five are administrative staff and office manager, three are service and two handle utility jobs, such as connecting businesses underground into the supply.
The Kuhlmanns are pleased they are able to provide good jobs in the community.
“Its humbling and stressful yet exciting and gives a sense of pride,” Hailey said.
The lead service plumber is Henry Smith, who joined in 2014. Hailey called him one of the best in the state.
“He is a very fine professional and does excellent work,” she said.
Jim originally decided to go into plumbing not long after high school when he was working at a plumbing supply store. He realized plumbing is a job that has a good future and it's something everyone needs.
“He realized it was an essential career,” Hailey said.
He went to school at the Pulaski County Master Plumber’s Association while also getting his apprenticeship. It is the same place all 11 of Mid-Town’s current apprentices are getting their education.
Hailey said they are really excited about the Career and Technical Education Center, which will offer a variety of career training options, including plumbing.
“Technical jobs are so important,” she said.
They are excited the school will be training people they might be able to hire in the future.
The pandemic has not slowed Mid-Town down. Hailey said they have been fortunate their employees have all remained healthy.
Especially the residential jobs, Hailey said the plumbers wear masks and gloves and carry hand sanitizer. They practice social distancing as well.
“We try to follow all the CDC guidance,” she said.
They do not want to put either the plumbers or their customers at risk.
Before sending a plumber out, they ask to ensure the customer is not sick.
Hailey said Mid-Town is very price competitive and cares for its customers.
“We take our customer’s wants and needs very seriously,” she said.
She said Mid-Town offers excellent service. She wants to see the business grow and feels the best way is by making the customers happy.
They do not have an automated answering service. No matter the time day or night, the phone is answered by one of the administrative staff. The staff also handles questions and even gives customers a call when the plumber is on their way. Hailey said they want their customers to feel like family.
She said their plumbers all do quality work.
“We will stand behind our plumbers. They are top notch,” she said.
Mid-Town’s services include commercial and residential services and remodeling and new construction work for commercial jobs. They can repair and install regular and tankless water heaters, gas lines, water lines, sewer lines, toilets, sinks and faucets and tubs and showers. They can remodel kitchens, bathrooms, additions, outside kitsch’s and gas grills.
They can also do utilities, including installation, repair and relocation for water, sewer or gas mains.
Mid-Town only hires plumbers Hailey would be comfortable to have in her own home. They don’t hire anyone with felonies or with drug offenses.
She is proud that Mid-Town has a very low call back rate on its jobs. She said it is because the plumbers are thorough and ask questions to ensure it is done right the first time.
Plumber Henry Smith has more than 20 years of experience in the field. Hailey said he knows about service.
Mid-Town is open 7 a.m. 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and available for emergency calls 24-7. It can be found online online at www.midtownmechanicalservices.com or be reached at 501-765-5380.