I realize we may be giving off the impression that the real estate industry is where you head when you’re transitioning out of the music industry, and that’s not entirely true. When our friend Rick Brandley, a former touring sound engineer, decided he didn’t want to be on the road forever, he came home to his Uncle George’s plumbing supply business in Pasadena.
At the time, clients were starting to bring in decorative fixtures that were constructed without any plumbing knowledge. Rick entered the business while there was a transition happening; what had formerly been a pretty utilitarian market was becoming more expressive, but there was a disconnect between designers and plumbers. Brandley sought to bridge that gap as he eventually took over and expanded the family business.
Rick figured that if they were to also sell design-forward fixtures, they’d be the only place around that could support both the sale and the installation. He was so right that he actually over-estimated the market, and by the time his clients’ Home-Depot-complacency had worn off, the showroom had already been doing their thing for almost a decade.
When Rick first started in this business, plumbing fixtures were functional items your plumber chose. Fixtures now are a luxury item and an art form that becomes integral to an overall design. An inconsistent or dated fixture can throw off a bathroom or kitchen remodel just as significantly as the wrong tile choice. As a long time Pasadena staple, Brandley explains the most in demand items for local homes are fixtures that are, “new but look old,” the kind of stuff that will be architecturally accurate for the myriad of character homes around us.
60 or so years into its existence, and 35 or so years since Rick returned, George’s Showroom thrives as a true family affair. Rick is at the helm, his son Ben is primed to manage the business end of the company, and out of their 9 full-time employees, one has been with them for 30 years, two for over 20 years, and four have been with them for over 10 years.
If you’re staying up all night on Instagram and Pinterest looking at bathroom and kitchen remodeling ideas, it’s not a bad plan to just walk on in to George’s Showroom and get some 3D inspo and great advice from people who live and breathe the stuff.