For many Lowell residents, it may be hard to imagine a Canfield Plumbing & Heating without Greg Canfield. However, Canfield says it’s time to retire, and he’s stepping back from the daily operations of the business he founded nearly three decades ago.
“We have a great team here,” he says. Although he’ll no longer be answering phones or making house calls, customers should continue to receive the same great service they’ve come to expect from Canfield Plumbing & Heating. What’s more, Canfield will continue to own the business and be involved in some management duties.
While the transition should be seamless from the customer perspective, the change will be significant for Canfield who has spent nearly half his life working long hours to turn his business into what it is today.
Blessing to Be Able to Help People
Canfield Plumbing & Heating had a humble start 27 years ago when Canfield began working out of his home. “I just for some reason though I needed to be self-employed and control my own destiny,” he explains.
Gradually, the business grew, moving from one location to the next and adding employees along the way. Today, a fleet of blue vehicles departs for the day’s jobs from a historic building on E. Main Street. Overall, the business employs 24 people between its office staff, plumbers and HVAC technicians.
“We’re not the cheapest guys around, but I think we’re fair,” Canfield says. There is intense competition for skilled workers nowadays which means Canfield Plumbing & Heating pays competitive wages and benefits. Plus, there is a higher overhead cost involved in ensuring people have access to service 24/7. “You’ll always get a real person on the phone,” according to Canfield.
Many of those late night and weekend calls come when people find themselves in emergency situations such as backed up pipes overflowing water onto the floor or a furnace that stops working on the coldest night of the year. “It’s a blessing to be able to help with things like that,” Canfield says.
His company has also gone above and beyond to help other local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the spring, Canfield Plumbing & Heating spent $25,000 to match gift card purchases made at Lowell shops and restaurants. They repeated the promotion at the end of the year and matched another $15,000 in gift card sales to further boost the local economy.
Ready to “Fade Into the Sunset”
Originally, Canfield planned to retire later in the year. However, his dad died unexpectedly last fall despite being in good health. “It was a little bit of a wake-up call,” he says.
Now, the 63-year old is ready to trade long days working for long days on the beach or on a boat. When asked what the future holds, he says, “I’m going to fade into the sunset.”
That may be his intention, but Canfield’s presence will certainly be felt in Lowell for years to come. He’ll remain the owner of the Canfield Plumbing & Heating although he expects some key players at the business will be brought on as minority owners in the years to come. He also has other business ventures in town, such as the Main Street Inn, and he is overseeing the renovation of the building at W. Main Street and Riverside Drive which was recently vacated by Springrove Variety.
“It’s taken 27 years to get [here],” Canfield says. After all that hard work building a successful business that gives back to the community time and time again, Lowell residents can certainly agree this retirement is well-deserved.