There are many reasons why the fourth generation family-owned-and-operated General Plumbing Supply (GPS) is still going strong and opening new stores after being in business for over 110 years. With its 20 stores in New Jersey (including Bayonne, which opened in 1910, Morris Plains, and Green Brook), and two in New York, consumers, contractors, builders and developers all over the area take advantage of what it has to offer.
“We do kitchen and baths, including cabinetry and vanities, plumbing fixtures, and lighting,” says Brian Maffia, its director of showrooms. “I like to say that we provide the jewelry of the home.”
The high-quality products and personalized customer service is something you can’t get at your average big box store, or find on the internet, where some of the products shipped from other countries may not even meet code in NJ.
“People want to see and touch the items and feel the weight of the products,” he says. “That’s where our showrooms really stand out. People can come in and have knowledgeable salespeople help select the right product for themselves, their families, or whoever it might be.”
The number of brands and products available can be overwhelming for a consumer when trying to make the best choice. “We do weekly trainings and in-depth monthly trainings because new products come out all the time,” says Brian. “We try to be ahead of it so when these products do hit the street, our employees are already experts on them.”
Especially with the advent of Smart technology, trainings are even more critical. “This generation is more wired and connected than we have ever been, and kitchen and bath automation is huge,” he says. “An example would be a steam shower. Normally you would go to a spa for this, but now people want to do it in their own homes. When it's ready for use, it lets you know. And, when you go in there, it knows that you requested this experience and your music starts playing.”
Some of the most basic fixtures, such as faucets, are also going high tech. “The Kohler touch faucets connect through the Kohler Connect app to Google, Alexa, or whatever platform you might be using. You can actually say, ‘dispense a cup of water,’ and then just put the pot in the sink and it dispenses one cup of water. There’s no need for a measuring cup. You can also have it turn the water on and off and ask for warm, cold, or hot water, or more pressure or less pressure.”
Something else that is trending now as far as color is more natural wood tones in kitchens and bathrooms. “For the longest time, it’s been white and gray, but now that’s changing,” says Brian. “As far as fixtures, black as well as brushed gold are very popular.”
In addition to Kohler, other brands offered include Delta®, Moen®, ROHL®, and Wellborn Cabinet®. “We really scrutinize our vendors and I like to say we only play with the NIKE’s® and Adidases® of the world.”
To ensure there is a vast inventory on hand, GPS has a 300,000 square foot warehouse. “We really need to have a lot of product at our fingertips either for next day delivery or within a couple of days,” he says. “We make sure we have every size needed so that when the contractor is coming to your house, it’s ready.”
If you have a project in mind or already underway, visit one of General Plumbing Supply locations and be confident that you’ll get exactly what you need at a fair price.
“Some manufacturers make lower quality products and use less costly materials, but just like anything else, you get what you paid for and it's going to break down quicker,” says Brian. “We want our products to last. In kitchens, for example, we want to make sure a faucet has all brass fittings and ceramic disc cartridges. In bathrooms we require solid wood vanities - we don't want particle board or press board. We want our clients to love their bathrooms for many years to come. These things matter.”
“We do weekly trainings and in-depth monthly trainings because new products come out all the time,” says Brian. “We try to be ahead of it so when these products do hit the street, our employees are already experts on them.”