Case Studies

Countryside Plumbing & Heating Inc.

A family HVAC and plumbing services venture

Countryside Plumbing & Heating Inc. has been providing commercial and residential HVAC and plumbing services to the northwestern Wisconsin area since 1950. Located in New Richmond, Wisconsin, Countryside has been under the ownership of Jim & Carol De Young since 1982.

“I married into the industry,” says De Young. “My husband has always been a plumber and he worked for the company before we bought it.” De Young joined the team as a bookkeeper and worked with the company until her husband retired and she took over as president. “We have two sons who are also working in the business and eventually it will transition to them.”

Countryside offers a full line of heating, air conditioning and plumbing services and appliances for any type of residential and commercial project. As a full-service contractor, the company specializes in all aspects such as sales, installation, service and repairs.

Staying Ahead

Investments in the latest state-of-the-art facilities, equipment and tools have placed Countryside ahead of the competition and allowed the company to provide trustworthy, quality service to the residents of New Richmond and the surrounding St. Croix Valley cities. “Honesty and integrity are what we base our success on,” says De Young. “What’s good for the customer is what’s good for the company.”

Countryside has been involved in several recent projects that include a microbrewery and a vodka distillery, both located in New Richmond. “It’s kind of a little niche that New Richmond has to offer because they’re doubling in size,” says De Young. “I think they’re going to make the facility available for tours.”

Since the recession, the rebound of the housing market has helped Countryside grow. “We’ve been lucky to have strong revenue with the housing market picking back up in this area,” says De Young. “The spring and summer is looking pretty good in that direction and I would say that there is an increase in the amount of upscale homes being built as well.”

For new revenue, Countryside has been awarded the contract for a local 54-unit apartment building in New Richmond.

Preparing the next generation

One challenge that Countryside has faced, as have many companies in the construction industry, is manpower. “There doesn’t seem to be many young people going into the trades these days,” say De Young. “I think that there will be a big shortage in skilled workers coming up in the near future. Most new tradesmen are trained through apprenticeship programs taught by veteran employees but the trend in the industry seems to be that people are retiring before the new generation enters.”

De Young is doing her part to educate and spark interest in the younger generation through her work on the committee which sets the standards for plumbing apprentices for the state of Wisconsin. I’ve worked with that committee for a while and am trying to work closely with our high school here to make that a really good program and to reach out to the community to see what the employment needs are here. I think it’s a great way to show students that they can attain a viable career without going into large amounts of student debt.” 

De Young credits the success of her company to the people she works with. With 30-year careers with one company becoming rarer these days, employee retention is a testament to the quality of service a company provides not only to its customers but also to its employees. “I’m extremely proud of the people that make up my staff,” says De Young. “We’re very proud of the fact that we have so many people that have earned 10-, 15- and 20-year awards with us. I hope that means that they enjoy what they’re doing and that we’re treating them right.”

With cautious optimism on the overall economic state of the country, De Young is looking forward to continuing to grow the company while maintaining the relationships that the company has worked so hard to establish. When De Young is away from the business she can often be found spending time with her grandchildren and sewing. She is also heavily involved with the local rotary club. “I really enjoy doing community service projects,” says De Young.

While the company prepares to transition to the next generation, Countryside Plumbing & Heating Inc. will continuing setting the standard for HVAC and plumbing services in Wisconsin.

Published on: August 4, 2015

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