Meet SEWN member…
Marnie Ross has a passion for plumbing.
No, really. She says she fell into the field 8 or 9 years ago, working for Suncoast Plumbing’s showroom, Coast Kitchens & Baths. When that company went out of business she still had designers and contractors who needed her to keep doing what she did so she went out on her own, setting up an office at home and focussing on servicing the people she already knew.
“I was really lucky because I was able to open up accounts with all the same discounts I had at the showroom, so my customers are paying the same or less than they would have in the past through the showroom. I also had great connections with my suppliers and had learned through the years who were good people to work with and who provided good service. I love that I am constantly learning something new in the plumbing trade.”
She doesn’t need a storefront yet but believes it might just be a matter of time as the solo business grows. For now, she loves the personal service side of going to jobsites, meeting customers and having the flexibility to work around her children’s schedules.
“My older kids have graduated and moved on and my youngest is in Grade 10 this year. I can almost smell the freedom.”
She came to the coast 11 years ago from Port Hardy, following her husband’s job at Terminal Forest Products. At the time the kids were quite young and schooling was a priority. They settled in the Gale area of Sechelt, both loved the area and have never looked back.
One of the things Marnie finds challenging with in her business is getting known, partly because she works from home. She has recently joined the Coast Community Builders Association board, because networking pays off and she’s considering decaling her car with her URL and contact information as she is often on the road visiting clients and jobsites.
Her favourite part of plumbing is seeing people happy and excited when she finds them exactly what they want. “I can do a lot of problem solving for customers and can work with all budgets. People don’t realize that they might find some items less expensive than what I source but I offer a service so they don’t have to worry about the right parts, or dealing with the plumber. Besides it saves you money if you’re not going back and forth to the city to shop and return things.”
What many of us don’t know is that there is a huge quality difference from what she can get from wholesalers versus what’s in the big box stores, despite the packaging looking remarkably similar. Marnie also promises to be there if you need a part or a problem solved. “The service does not stop after you make your purchase and that’s why so many customers come back!”.
Published: January 2017