When Thomas and Nancye Fisher bought South End Plumbing in 1970, the couple knew nothing about owning a business and even less about plumbing.
“I could do small jobs, little things here and there, but I learned everything about plumbing here,” said Thomas, 81, who lives in Palmetto Bay. “Before I bought the business, I worked a corporate life. I didn’t like it. I was tired of it. I wanted to own my own business and this just happened to be available for sale. So my wife and I settled into plumbing and here we are 40 years later.”
The Fisher family — including son Rick, 56, and daughters Sandy Moore, 55, and Cindy Fox, 52 — settled into Miami in 1960. Thomas worked nine years for Milgo Electronics and a year for Burger King before he found the plumbing business.
Established in 1968, South End Plumbing, 8805 SW 129th St., does a wide range of full service jobs, including general repairs, sewer and drainage cleaning, pump installations, water heater replacements and complete bathroom and kitchen alterations.
Thomas is still very much involved in the family operation, performing house calls and assisting plumbers on the job. His wife died of cancer in 2010. She was the secretary and treasurer, handling all the bookkeeping of the business and dispatching calls.
“Mom was very instrumental in the rise of the business,” said son Rick. “She was the overseer of everything that went on in this company and worked until nearly the end.”
Rick has always been involved in his parents’ business. From an early age, he helped mom and dad on summer breaks away from school. He began working full-time when he was 23 and hasn’t stopped.
“I do a little bit of everything,” he said.
“Answer phones, make house calls. I’m a gopher of sorts and technically oriented like my dad. Plumbing is all I’ve ever done and all I’ve ever known.”
Rick’s sisters never delved into the family business like their big brother did. But Sandy has gotten more involved since their mother died.
“My background is in interior design,” Sandy said. “I’ve always joked if daddy owned a bridal shop, I would be happy to come to work.”
She is quick to point out that though she doesn’t like handling the bookkeeping of the family business, she does love the customer service aspect.
“I love going the extra mile to cater to every customer’s needs,” she said. “I love taking care of them in every way. In business, you do everything for the customer to make their experience the most satisfactory as possible. That’s what I love most about the job.”
Grace Deleon, 56, of Westchester said the customer service at South End Plumbing is what has kept her coming back for nearly 30 years.
“There’s no one else I trust or find more reliable than South End Plumbing,” Deleon said. “It’s great to do business with someone you trust. You never have to worry about being overcharged for anything. They get the job done right and they are affordable.”
Another longtime customer, Helen Stephan, 59, of South Miami, said the service at South End Plumbing is top notch.
“Over the last 26 years, they’ve corrected everything that needs to be done on my home and they’ve never failed me yet. I couldn’t ask for better service,” Stephan said. “I just recently moved and I fully intend to use them for any future plumbing needs on my new home.”
Stephan’s old home off Davis Road and Old Cutler has actually been serviced by the Fisher family for as long as South End Plumbing has been in business.
“We worked on that house when it belonged to the Greenbergs, also longtime customers,” Rick said. “Then when it changed hands to the Stephans. Now Helen’s niece has bought the home and she’s also a customer. We almost feel that’s our home.”
For more information, call 305-235-7177 or go to www.southendplumbing.com.