HOW THIS MULTI-LOCATION PLUMBING SUPPLY COMPANY HAS SERVED NEW JERSEY CUSTOMERS FOR MORE THAN 100 YEARS
BY JESSICA JONES-GORMAN • PHOTOS © AMESSÉ PHOTOGRAPHY
When Charles Goldberg launched Goldberg Plumbing Supply on a bustling strip of Avenue C in Bayonne in 1910, he focused his attention on customer service. Positioning itself as a reliable resource for plumbing, heating, and industrial supplies, the store owner made sure its inventory was continually replenished and its products dependable. Three generations later, the family-owned business continues to thrive, operating as one of the largest plumbing supply distributors on the East Coast, with locations in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
“Like a lot of companies of that era, GPS started out as a general hardware store before specializing in plumbing,” noted Justin Freedman, its current president. “But no matter what he was selling, my great-grandfather prided himself on that reliability always being able to provide a quality product in a timely fashion.” Goldberg Plumbing Supply, which eventually morphed into General Plumbing Supply before being shortened to GPS, moved to Kennedy Boulevard in Bayonne before expanding to Morris Plains and then Edison. The business was run by Freedman’s grandfather, Herb Tucker, in the 1960s and ’70s, and by an uncle, Bruce Tucker, in the 1980s. Today, Freedman assists Bruce, who currently serves as CEO, bringing both contractors and homeowners the superior products they need.
“Our territory stretches from Tenafly to as far south as Lakewood,” Freedman said. “We really became a driving force in the industry during the 1970s and have been expanding ever since. And as we’ve grown, our goal has expanded, too we strive to be the most efficient and technologically advanced plumbing supply business in the state, continually improving upon the way we serve customers.”
Partnering with brands like Kohler, Moen, KraftMaid, and Hansgrohe, GPS offers everything from tubs, sinks, and fixtures to cabinetry and countertops. On the contractor side, HVAC, plumbing, heating, and industrial supplies come from Utica, Weil-McLain, Rheem, and other high-end makers.
“We have 18 locations in New Jersey and one in Staten Island,” Freedman said, detailing his showrooms and trade locations, two of which are Kohler signature stores. “We have been a Kohler distributor for many years, and they have been a phenomenal partner. They are a premier brand with universally accepted broad offerings from a consumer-demand and marketing-design perspective. Selling their product has contributed greatly to our success.”
GPS’s Edison headquarters features a 70,000-square-foot warehouse and showroom. The company’s corporate offices and a “live fire” training room are also located on site.
“In addition to housing our corporate campus, the Edison location also has boilers, water heaters, and HVAC lines in place for hands-on training,” Freedman said. “We also have a trainer on staff so that technicians can train in-house.”
GPS is currently focused on keeping up with the rapid pace of technology. “Connected devices, smart faucets, and showering systems are all in demand, becoming an important part of home builds and renovations,” Freedman said. “Many vendors are now entering into that category, and we consider it one of our strengths. We take great pride in staying ahead of the curve, offering cutting-edge innovation in every category.”
Estimating his inventory in excess of $40 million, Freedman said he still follows his great-grandfather’s example of consistently stocking items to meet customer needs.
“The reality is, they want things yesterday,” he said. “So we do our best to saturate inventory and remain a focused supplier, stocking our branches with all of the necessary parts, accessories, and equipment. The aim is to serve customers with same-day availability, and that’s why families have been with us for generations.”
Citing the importance of relationships in the construction industry, Freedman observed that “there are ups and downs in this business, of course we all experience them. That’s why we are not a ‘cash-on-delivery’ operation. We trust our customers and they trust us. We support our contractors and homeowners, and they offer support in return. I think that’s a big contributing factor to our longevity in this business.”
GPS is still what it’s always been family-owned. Freedman’s brother, Matt, a former investment banker, now runs the company’s finances; a nephew, Ian Ebner, serves as vice president of sales; and Freedman’s uncle Bruce is still running the company according to his grandfather’s traditions.
“We’re all very much invested and heavily involved,” Freedman said. “GPS has provided quality products and service to New Jersey and beyond for over 100 years. We hope to continue delivering that same unparalleled customer service for 100 more.”
GPS / General Plumbing Supply, Inc.
SHOWROOMS: 980 New Durham Road, Edison / 732.248.100
663 Speedwell Avenue, Morris Plains / 973.993.9700
1309 Kennedy Blvd., Bayonne / 201.436.7200
230 Goffle Road, Hawthorne / 973.636.9500
540 Thomas Blvd., Orange / 973.414.9477
71 North Washington Avenue, Bergenfield / 201.244.8500
585 Prospect St., Lakewood / 732.730.9400
2 Johnson Ave., Matawan / 732.583.9900
25 Route 22 East, Green Brook / 732.752.2020
178 Highway 202/31 North, Flemington, 908.782.2221
Kohler Signature Store 160 Route 17 North, Paramus / 201.322.5000
Kohler Signature Store 158 Route 35 South, Eatontown / 732.210.3600