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More than just pipes: New business strives to be part of community

Tommie Haire and wife, Renee, get ready to welcome customers at the grand opening at his new Jackson Boulevard  location. (Photos by Marina Waters)

By MARINA WATERS

Staff Writer

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Tommie Haire of Tommie’s Plumbing didn’t just open a new location in Jonesborough to create more business. He’s here to be a part of the community and add on to the Tommie’s Plumbing family.

Tommie Haire shows off some of the fixtures available at his business.

Haire got his start as a 23-year-old learning the ins and outs of plumbing. He later created his own Greeneville-based business, Tommie’s Plumbing, and after years of running his plumbing business, Haire officially opened a Jonesborough location on Jackson Boulevard on Monday, Jan. 6.

“We were in Greeneville and started doing real good there, but we started getting calls out of here,” Haire said, “so instead of bringing our trucks from way down in Greeneville, we decided just to open a store here. That way we can be local, hire local people and be able to service everything they need around here.”

Tommie’s Plumbing is a full-service plumbing contractor that offers water heater installation, toilet and faucet installation, water line installation, water leak repair and repiping services. The plumbing business also focuses on sewer and drain cleaning with cameras and locators to help find the problem within the pipes.

Professionalism is also a big part of the business, Haire said. Tommie’s Plumbing is a part of the Better Business Bureau and is licensed and insured.

“We want to make sure we give quality work,” Haire said. “That’s why we give warranties 100 percent guaranteed. On our water heater and stuff, we give you the six-year warranty from the manufacturer, but we also give you a six-year (warranty). So if something happens, you don’t call the number on there, you call us. If we can’t come out and fix it, we’ll replace it. 

“I think that’s what’s brought us up to where we are today is those warranties and the respect of cleaning up your house. We want it cleaner than when we got there. We’ve got guys who will clean up your bathrooms (laughs). Your sinks, your floors, your tubs — they’re cleaning everything.”

One key to running a reputable business has been hiring family-oriented, dependable employees, Haire said.

“We do background checks and we do drug tests,” Haire said. “That’s our main key. We also make sure they’re family oriented. Most guys that have families are willing to work. We want someone who can walk in there and talk to a customer and be as polite as I am. We want people who listen to their needs and what they have going on, not just go in there and tell them what they need. Let them tell you what’s going on.”

So far, Haire has added one employee to his Jonesborough location, but he’s looking to hire more locally based plumbers.

“That’s what we wanted to do too is hire people from the area,” Haire said. “That way it keeps everything local. When we come to your house, you’ll see our guys in the grocery store and not just at your house. That way they’ll do a good job for you. You’ll see them out on the streets and you can say ‘hey.’ We’re not just here to do work. We want to make sure we’re a part of the communities and the families.”

It’s not all about making a profit for the plumbing contractor: When asked what the main focus of Tommie’s Plumbing is, Haire’s response needed no hesitation.

“The community,” Haire said. “We want to let them know we’re not just here to take their money. We also provide. We give back to the community, we sponsor softball teams, any fundraisers that are going on — in Greeneville, we’ve done a lot of that stuff and that’s what we plan to do here. We want to put back towards the neighborhood. 

“When I was little, we weren’t rich or anything. We didn’t have much so that’s why I give back. I appreciate where I come from.”

Right next to the community on the Tommie’s Plumbing totem pole is family, which extends beyond more than his wife, Renee, his six daughters and seven grandchildren.

“It’s a family. That’s what it is,” Haire said, sitting next to his wife. “The guys that work for me, I treat them like family. If you get to handpick who you want, you can get decent guys and it becomes like a family.”

Haire has been in the business of fixing water heaters and digging up water lines for over 30 years, but what keeps him going isn’t money or an expanded business — it’s working to make someone’s day just a little better.

“I’ve got seven grandkids. I want to show them the trade, but I also get the appreciation of helping people,” Haire said. “I might look like a big, mean looking guy, but I’ve got a big heart. I just love to help people. When I go in a house and I hear them and they’re talking about having a leak all over the floor, I fix it and they’re happy, that’s what I like. I like to fix it to where they don’t have to worry about it. That’s my goal. That’s what makes me get up in the morning and keep going.”

For more information on Tommie’s Plumbing, go to www.tommiesplumbinggreeneville.com/ or call (423) 788-9343.