Frank’s Mr. Plumber buys Tonawanda warehouse to triple its space

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Frank DiMaria has fixed a lot of leaks over the 35 years that his Mr. Plumber has been in business – and he’s hoping to fix a whole lot more.

DiMaria’s growing business is nearly tripling its space in Tonawanda as it seeks to accommodate not only rising demand for plumbing and waterproofing services, but also a planned expansion to Rochester.

DiMaria, 53, is buying a 5.65-acre site on Military Road, with a 56,820-square-foot industrial manufacturing and distribution facility. The building was formerly the Wendt Corp. Technology Center.

The long-pending deal is expected to close within the next couple of weeks, DiMaria said, without revealing the price.

“I sure hope so,” he joked. “It’s taking forever.”

He said he plans to relocate his businesses – Frank’s Mr. Plumber and Frank’s Basement Systems – from their current longtime home at 70 and 90 Pearce Ave. in Tonawanda, where the firms occupy 20,000 square feet of space in “extremely cramped” conditions.

The move to 2080 Military will allow more room for his offices, equipment and trucks. The companies employ 125, although all but about 20 administrative workers are usually out on the road performing jobs.

He’s also planning to create a training facility to teach the plumbing and basement waterproofing trades, with a goal of adding 50 to 60 new employees as he plans an expansion to the Rochester market next spring. He said he may also provide free training to others, although he would require any students to stay with his firm for at least six months before they go out on their own.

“We’ve got a wonderful opportunity to take it to the next level,” DiMaria said. “We’re only moving one mile away, but this site came on the market and it’s got a lot of room for training, and we can park our trucks onsite. It’s just an awesome area to be in.”

DiMaria is also selling the company’s current 30,000-square-foot location on Pearce Avenue – where the businesses have been located for the past 14 years. The three acres of land are being sold to T&T Materials, a steel products company in Rochester, and to Total Wrecking & Environmental, a demolition contractor that leases 10,000 square feet in the Pearce building.

The sales demonstrate the strength of Tonawanda’s industry market, said David Schiller of Pyramid Brokerage Co., who handled the transaction for DiMaria.

“Manufacturing remains relatively healthy,” he said. “There is a severe shortage of availabilities.”

Founded by DiMaria in 1985, the businesses have grown steadily, and now serve much of Erie County and part of Niagara County, offering plumbing, heater, sewer and drain cleaning and basement waterproofing services. DiMaria’s son, Frank Jr., 30, was recently promoted to general manager, setting up a leadership transition.

Published by The Buffalo News

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