Fourth-generation plumbing repair parts manufacturer and master distributor Kissler & Co. has no secret game plan when it comes to how it has crafted an extremely successful business that now is in its ninth decade of operation.

“What makes us different?” Kissler & Co. Vice President Glenn Kissler asks on an extremely hot East Coast summer day at company headquarters in Carlstadt, New Jersey. “We aren’t selling part numbers. We are selling a service. We know what we are selling and we know what we have. We feel, touch and play with the products we sell and we understand them. Would you pay a dime more for a quality product? We’ve always been known for our quality repair parts.”

But Kissler and his brother, company President Barry Kissler, sensed a recent change in the plumbing repair part marketplace. “The repair parts marketplace is holding steady,” Glenn Kissler says. “But as that has happened, we have adapted and come out with new products other than the plumbing repair parts we are really known for.”

“Times have changed,” Barry Kissler says. “Things that we used to sell an enormous amount of aren’t getting sold. Something we used to sell 10,000 of a month now is 10,000 a year. We have to keep up with the times by adding new items that have been very well-received by our customer base.”

Kissler & Co. has debuted a host of new innovative products in recent yearsKissler & Co. has debuted a host of new innovative products in recent years, including its Perfect Puddy (preinstalled plumber’s putty rope) and Burst Blocker excess flow-stopper adapters. Photo courtesy of Kissler & Co.

Kissler Art Director Susan Tahmoosh adds: “I’m very proud to be part of a company that continues to grow its product base, and we continue to do it very successfully.”

Along those lines in recent times, Kissler has debuted a line of professional-grade Dominion faucets, along with a host of other strong-selling innovations such as its Perfect Putty (preinstalled plumber’s putty rope) and Burst Blocker excess flow-stopper adapter to name just a few.

“I see us evolving even more and looking to get even deeper into product lines,” says Regional Sales Manager Jeffrey Kissler, who along with his cousin, Matthew (production supervisor), represent the fourth generation of family in the company. “We’re looking at products that make it easier for the contractor and the end user.”

Both Jeffrey (Glenn’s son) and Matthew (Barry’s son) Kissler are grateful to be able to continue on the family’s long legacy in the industry. “One of the greatest blessings is getting to come in here and be around family,” Matthew Kissler says. “I know I need to work harder than anybody else to help get this into the next generation. I see why my father and uncle work as hard as they do. I understand what it takes. People here care about the company. It’s a very exciting time to be here.”

IT Manager Doug Tanner, who has been with the company for more than two decades, deflects credit back to Glenn and Barry Kissler. “The biggest reason we are successful is because the owners and all of management actually work on everything in the business,” he says. They don’t leave anything to chance. They are down there on the floor talking to us and our customers. And they reinvest in the company. I’m not surprised by our success at all. If you work hard you should expect results like this.”


Customers are king

But even with its 1-2 punch of plumbing repair parts (the company inventories some 30,000 parts) and new product innovations, Glenn Kissler says customer-service excellence is a nonnegotiable component at the company.

“Customer service is what it’s come to these days,” he says. “Anybody can ship a product. We get products in and out and we treat people properly. We take care of our customers so they want to call us back. We’re a family business. We don’t say no. If a customer has a question we are going to research it and go until we find an answer. We may not be the cheapest around, but nobody knows plumbing repair parts better. For us, it’s not a race to the bottom. A competitor of mine says volume is vanity and profit is sanity. Anybody can sell $50 million in product, but it must be profitable.”

Kissler & Co. has debuted a host of new innovative products in recent yearsKissler & Co. has debuted a host of new innovative products in recent years, including its Perfect Puddy (preinstalled plumber’s putty rope) and Burst Blocker excess flow-stopper adapters. Photo courtesy of Kissler & Co.

Another key back-office initiative for the master distributor is the installation of a new warehouse-management system. “It brings us to the next generation,” Glenn Kissler says. “We will be paperless and have a seamless transition with order and inventory flow. It’s a major investment. We’re pulling and packing at the same time. It will make orders flow smarter and error-free. You can’t be short on someone’s order. If they ordered 10 items, they need 10 items in the box, not nine items.”

Kissler also prides itself on its quick turnarounds with shipments, within 24 hours on most items. “It’s service, support and selection. We’re talking about the basics,” says National Sales Manager Sean Kaplan, who oversees a group of 15 outside salespeople and six inside. “We’re a well-oiled machine when it comes to that.”

Warehouse Operations Manager Scott Singer, who has been with the company 24 years, says labeling is one of many examples of Kissler having its eye on the customer-service prize. “We’re big on efficiencies in our product labeling. Clean, clear and concise labels help make our processes easier for both Kissler and the customer.”

Glenn Kissler, who reports record sales for the company in 2018, says there are plans to expand beyond its 85,000-square-foot New Jersey location and open in other cities across the country. Kissler has ramped up on the staffing front with four recent warehouse additions to bring that total to 60.

“We’ve always been a little mom and pop living in our four walls here,” he says. “I see things differently. It’s nice to hear someone say there is a Mr. Kissler out there. We’re not just a random company. My goal is in plumbing outlets across the country that somebody recognizes our name in some fashion. I want every distributor in the country to ask for us by name.”

Barry Kissler adds: “We’re very good at what we do and very good at knowing what our customers need. We are really good at getting it in the door, having it available and getting it out the door. One of our customers tells us when they open our package it’s like a Christmas present. I like that philosophy. We are a leader and innovator in what we do and we’re going to maintain and improve to uphold that position by preparing and supporting the next generation for the changes that are necessary. That’s why we’ve been around 95 years and we’re looking forward to the next 95 years.”