In a pickle? Call Nichol!
“It’s our mission to help people,” said Juanita Nichol, at 76 the matriarch of a four-generation plumbing business in Aumsville.
Husband, Ted, coined the phrase when the couple opened shop almost 50 years ago in the building that now houses Aumsville City Hall.
To celebrate their 50 years of service to the greater Aumsville community, the Nichols will host an open house and barbecue from noon to 4 p.m. on June 19 at the shop, 615 Main St.
“We would love people to come and celebrate with us,” Nichol said. “We’ll have hamburgers and hot dogs, juice, chips, cake – balloons for the kids and door prizes every hour. Lots of family fun!”
The Nichols built their own place across the road in 1962, after relocating a small house several blocks away and remain an Aumsville fixture.
The business, Nichol is quick to say, thrives on great customer service and a lot of faith!
“We wanted our business to be a mission field, a blessing to the Lord – and the Lord has blessed us mightily,” she said.
Since their start on Dec. 7, 1959, four generations of Nichols have served the community with their plumbing expertise. Ted Nichol trained under his dad, Walter, in Springfield in the 1940s, and worked at his own shop until he died four years ago. Son, Doug, 53, started working in the family business during his high school years and leads it today. Son-in-law Royce Marlin apprenticed at the shop. And grandson Geoff, 25, came on board following a stint with auto mechanics.
Susan Marlin, one of the couple’s three daughters, also helped out. Her twin sisters, Miriam Morrow and Martha Pynch, spent many days in a playpen in the front office while their mom worked. Nichol handled the books, a job she passed on to daughter-in-law Maurita. Nichol still serves customers at the counter, a job she takes very seriously.
“If it weren’t for our customers, we wouldn’t have made it this long,” said Nichol, who came to Oregon from Oklahoma in 1930 and met her husband-to-be during their growing-up years. “There were only 293 people in Aumsville when we started. But as the city grew, so did our number of customers. Some are third-generation families!”
Word of mouth is the way most customers arrive at the store, Nichol said. Ethical, honest, kind and caring treatment as well as good service keeps them coming back, she believes. “We appreciate their faithfulness,” she said. “We’re here to serve as long as we can.”
Doug Nichol plays a big role in the future of his family’s business. From days spent at the shop since age 3 to taking care of customers today, he grew to enjoy the plumbing business.
“I love the variety of jobs and the change of scenery,” said Doug, who took on the leadership role at the shop after his dad passed away several years ago. “We do repairs and remodels from homes to light industrial to commercial.”
Doug is especially proud of his son, Geoff’s, entry into the family business. “It’s a real asset having him come on board,” he said. “He’s the best of the bunch.”
Geoff’s penchant is to design plumbing systems that shine. “I like the creativity and challenge,” he said.
In his spare time, he tinkers with cars, putting to use his certification in automotive mechanics from Wyoming Technology.
Nichol Plumbing has gone through its share of ups and downs, from a large eight-employee operation to just family. But the service remains the same, Doug said.
“Sometimes we’re overloaded, sometimes there’s nothing much going on, but we always provide good service to the public,” he said.