Roger’s father, Arley, was a WWII veteran who returned home and used his GI Bill® to learn the plumbing trade. He worked hard to support his wife and four children, until one day, fed up with his job, he declared at the breakfast table, “I’m just gonna start my own damn business.” After a firm rebuke about his language from his wife, he did just that.
The year was 1950, and at only 7 years old, Roger was excited that his father was becoming a business owner. Roger grew up learning the trade alongside his dad and, in time, he took the over the family enterprise. Through the years, Roger grew a fleet of big red trucks, all recognizable for the “Roger the Plumber” brand painted on their sides. Along the way, he has employed a lot of good people and served generations of families.
Roger also became a local celebrity, with a radio show that ran on Kansas City’s “61 Country” station for 23 years. “The Home Repair Show” was a call-in format where listeners could ask about their plumbing and other home maintenance problems.
With a voice reminiscent of the great Paul Harvey and a sense of humor to make even the most mundane topics entertaining, Roger and his two sidekicks, “Mr. Sparky” (Bruce Beerman) and Tony “Sluggo” Garcia, informed and amused Kansas City residents every Wednesday morning from 5:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. “The Home Repair Show” became the number one radio show in town. Roger turned his phone number into a catchy jingle: 913-64-22-979. And before long, everyone from school children to housewives were reciting Roger’s number.
The show’s success earned Roger national attention and landed him a second radio show produced by David Weiner, owner of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Information Bureau (PHCIB) in Chicago. Also a call-in format, the Saturday morning show attracted A-list sponsors including Delta®, A.O. Smith and InSinkErator®, and was eventually syndicated to 60 stations.
Roger’s knack for drawing attention and driving business clinched his company’s success. But it was never about him. “The whole idea was to make the phone ring so my guys could get out there and work,” Roger says.
For Roger, being the steward of his father’s legacy has always been about more than delivering the best residential plumbing services in Johnson County. In America’s Heartland, family values are the currency of business. Roger describes his dad as a man “committed to his faith” and “as honest a guy as you could ever be.” Back before it was in fashion, Arley always took his shoes off before entering someone’s home, making him the darling of housewives across the county. We use disposable shoe covers now, but the result is the same – respect for your home.
Roger still runs his business on the same principles he was raised with. They’re simple, really: be on time, keep your word and be the best at what you do. “My dad looked at it as a trade to help the health and welfare of the nation. You can’t live in a house without good, safe plumbing. He was really conscientious about his trade and proud he was able to be a plumber. I’m proud to be a plumber, too.”
But there is something that makes Roger even more proud, “I think if you ask anybody who remembers me — my friends, my customers, my family — they’ll say I always kept my word and was honest.”
Roger the Plumber continues to deliver the same legendary service and quality work to people in Johnson County. But Roger has also expanded his services to include air conditioning, heating and indoor air quality to keep your home warm in our cold Kansas winters and comfortable in our hot Kansas summers. Call for same-day service: (913) 318-4479. After-hours and emergency services are available!