Schuler Service

Schuler Service

It all began in 1923 when George Schuler opened a small retail parts store on North Eighth Street in Allentown and outfitted a push-cart with tools and equipment so he could service his customers’ plumbing needs.

Ninety-five years later, Schuler Service, Inc. still offers plumbing fixtures—along with numerous other products to meet customers’ remodeling needs—but from a newly remodeled 1,800 sq. ft. showroom. A fleet of trucks has replaced the push-cart, allowing Schuler’s team of technicians to offer 24-hour service year-round to the greater Lehigh Valley. The Schuler team also offers comprehensive kitchen and bathroom remodeling services.

Remodeling has always been a part of the business. Jim Joyce, who was hired as general manager in 1974 by the business’s second owner, Bob Smith, helped him move Schuler Service to its current location that same year. The very next year, they opened the first home improvement showroom in the area run by a licensed plumber. Jim, who purchased the business in 1980 after Bob’s death, now serves as its vice president of inside operations.

The expansion he started has been carried on by the company’s current owner and president, Jim’s son Greg, who started working at Schuler in 1986. Greg, a master plumber, purchased the business from his father in 2013 and has since grown the business considerably.

Schuler Service now employs more than 20 people, including a number who have worked for the company for decades. Last year, the company completed major renovations of the showroom. The grand reopening was held in the fall of 2017.

“The showroom has kind of evolved,” says Joe Mrochko, vice president of marketing and sales. As the company took on more renovation projects, more customers came into the showroom to see products and make their selections. “We realized we should be showing people what we can do,” Joe says. “We now offer a representation of some of the rooms you might see the Lehigh Valley area, so people can see what things might look like in their home.” Some displays feature the traditional row-house bathroom layout common in the Valley’s cities, for example, while others are more typical of newer, larger homes. The showroom also offers a 3-D design center, headed by Greg’s wife and designer, Jan Joyce.

“Using 3-D design software allows us to show people what things will look like when we finish their project.” Joe says, adding that when customers are able to see the designs in 3-D, it helps them make better decisions and often save money on late-stage changes.

“Right now, we do more bathrooms than kitchens, but we do both. The bathroom is usually where projects start, and it’s a natural extension of our plumbing service work,” Joe says. “As we are working in the home, the homeowner may ask, ‘Can you put in a new shower or cabinet?’”

The Schuler technicians are kept busy 365 days a year.

In addition to replacing aging fixtures, the Schuler team may be called on to reconfigure or expand a room or to make it more practical or accessible. Smaller bathrooms in older homes may be enlarged using space from a neighboring closet, for example; if that is not an option, replacing a single sink with a double may make the room more functional. “And with the aging of our population, we’re doing more work to help people age in place and stay in their homes longer,” Joe says. “From adding safety bars to providing better access to sinks, we can modify counter heights so they can be accessed by a person in a wheelchair, and we can install showers that can be rolled into.”

Other renovation projects focus more on design and style. “Many of the displays in our showroom now are featuring natural looks,” Joe says, adding that elements made of natural materials or those made to look like natural materials, such as faux barn board or cement, are popular.

But while home renovations have been a continual focus, service still makes up a majority of Schuler’s work. From fixing leaks and making other repairs, to installing fixtures in bathrooms and kitchens, to installing and servicing water heaters, water treatment systems and heating units, the Schuler technicians are kept busy all year long.

“In the cold weather, we get a lot of calls for burst pipes,” Joe says. “We also get a lot of calls for clogged drains and leaking faucets. Leaks tend to be the most common problem, followed by water heaters and water-filled radiators. Many people don’t know whether to call a plumber or a heating technician when there’s a problem with their radiator heat. But that’s an important part of what we do.”

While some of the common problems have remained the same over the years, the materials and technology have gotten better. “With compression sealing, we’re able to seal pipes quicker. There is better design technology. It makes it easier to make repairs,” Joe says.

Schuler’s service area is the greater Lehigh Valley and surrounding areas.” During the January cold snap, he says the company managed a tremendous number of calls. “We worked day and night to help people get back to their normal way of life.”

“A lot has changed in 95 years,” Joe says. “But the one thing that hasn’t is our focus on customer service. We put the customer first and take care of them while making sure that we do quality work so they’re confident and happy to welcome us back into their homes. That’s why we always say, service may be our last name, but it’s our first priority”

Schuler Service Inc.

1314 West Tilghman St, Allentown

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