By Garin Groff for East Valley Tribune
Just as the plume of black smoke from a Gilbert warehouse fire in June could be seen for miles, the blaze’s impact has had a Valleywide impact on plumbing contractors — and on customers waiting for a plumber to make repairs.
The Farnsworth Wholesale Co. supplies virtually every commercial and residential contractor in the Valley, company Vice President Jack Stapley said. When the June 18 fire wiped out $8.1 million worth of inventory, some contractors were left without supplies as they were in the middle of a job, Stapley said.
Stapley said he wants to reassure contractors and the public that the company is rebuilding its plumbing inventory as quickly as possible. The day after the fire, incoming plumbing inventory was sent to a Farnsworth warehouse in Peoria. Also, Farnsworth has leased a 30,000-square-foot building near Mesa’s Falcon Field to become a new corporate headquarters and plumbing warehouse. That’s twice the space of the old Gilbert facility, which Stapley said was cramped. The move should be complete within a month.
Also, the company will rebuild its Gilbert warehouse within six months to a year.
“We think we’re going to come out of this bigger and better than we were before the fire, and we’re really excited about that,” Stapley said.
Stapley said the company will extend an indoor smoking ban to outside storage areas — and that he’d encourage other firms to consider the same approach to protect themselves.
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