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New plumbing business opens in Warwick

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Orrick Smith, new owner of Warwick Plumbing (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

If you are desperately hunting for that hard-to-find part for a toilet or tub, or you need a more efficient way to heat your water, Warwick Plumbing has you covered.

Orrick Smith launched the plumbing supply business in September, looking to give plumbers, journeymen and DIY-ers in Bermuda another option.

“Stuck in the Atlantic, there were some things that were hard to find even prior to the pandemic,” Mr Smith said. “I find everyone has to go shopping in different locations, getting one piece from here and the next piece at another store.”

Mr Smith thinks his plumbing supply company will help the problem.

“Another plumbing supply store is much needed,” he said.

Business has been slowly picking up since he opened at 15 Ten Pin Crescent, Middle Road, above the Warwick Laundromat.

“Journeymen and plumbers are putting the word out there for me,” he said. “A lot of the people who have come here have been very excited and glad that I did this.”

Orrick Smith, new owner of Warwick Plumbing (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

There has been particular interest in his Rheem Ruud heat-pump hot water heaters.

“It is a heater that acts almost like an air-conditioning unit,” he said. “It will cool your whole basement or garage while it heats the water. It uses about 60 per cent less energy than a regular hot water heater.”

Right now the water heaters are hard to get due to a microchip shortage. Mr Smith said some big box stores in the US have even taken them off the sales floor because it is hard to meet demand for them.

“Right now I have a 165-gallon unit and a 250-gallon unit,” he said. “They sell in the $3,000 range but no one really bats an eye at that. People are just happy to find one locally.”

Mr Smith gets the heaters from a supplier in the US and then stores them in Florida, until they need to be shipped to Bermuda.

“I try to think ahead,” he said.

He started his career working in the hotel industry.

“I was a bus boy and waiter for many years,” he said. “The hotel wanted me to be the maitre’d, but I did not want to be one. I was happy in the industry. I worked with the Marriott Castle Harbour Hotel right until the doors closed. But I was tired of the hotel industry.”

Wanting to do something different, he went to work for Dunkley’s Dairy as a general handyman doing everything from putting up cameras to fixing the air conditioning and the plumbing.

“I learnt on the job,” he said.

It was not difficult.

“I have a way of figuring out how things work, just by watching how others do things,” he said.

As a child, he would always put toys or models together without reading the instructions first.

“I would just figure it out as I went along,” he said. “I was always good with my hands.”

Later, he worked for Bermuda Air Conditioning as a salesman. Knowing his talent for figuring out mechanical issues, the company would sometimes send him out to troubleshoot a problem. He would have a look at what was going on in the field and report back to the experts.

At Warwick Plumbing, he is not doing any actual plumbing, but he can use his knowledge to advise customers on the parts they need for different projects.

“I can also direct them to a plumber if they need one,” Mr Smith said.

He has a good relationship with some of his plumbing supply competitors.

“Sometimes they will call and say they are sending a customer my way because they don’t have what he needs, and I will do the same for them,” he said. “It is just so people can finish a project. If you have a leaking toilet you don’t want to go to Amazon.com, particularly if it’s a tenant’s toilet.”

So far, Mr Smith has not had any major challenges setting up shop.

“I had it in my mind exactly what I was going to do,” he said.

He has tried to arrange the aisles so that they are visually appealing and convenient for professionals looking for parts for certain types of projects.

“I have had a lot of compliments on the arrangement of the shelves,” he said.

There has been the occasional glitch. For example, he ordered a store mat with Warwick Plumbing’s logo on it, but it arrived with the W upside down, so it looks more like an M.

At present, he is the only employee.

“You have to creep before you walk,” he said. “I am still new. I am always progressing and adding more to the shop as we go.”

Mr Smith does not have a website yet, but one is coming in the future.

To contact Warwick Plumbing, call 236-4311 or e-mail orrick@warwickpl.com

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Published March 04, 2022 at 8:01 am (Updated March 04, 2022 at 8:01 am)

New plumbing business opens in Warwick

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