Service Entrepreneur

The diversity of offering so many services, including plumbing and HVAC for residential and commercial applications and remodeling services, is one of the keys to success for Meridian Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Remodeling.

“There are a lot of benefits to being diversified in today’s economy. It seemed a natural to add heating and cooling back in 2007. We are so driven by a loyal customer following, and many of them desire a singular service provider,” says Jim Phillipich, owner. “Now the same company can unclog your drain and provide heating and cooling services.”

Phillipich sought to reinvent the Meridian brand in 2007 by brainstorming “The Meridian Advantage” tagline the company now uses in all of its advertising.

The move was part of a business plan to reposition the company for success. Meridian Plumbing had already removed itself from the new residential housing market in early 2006, something Phillipich is grateful about.

“Call it just a hunch, but we ceased doing that kind of work and instead focused on the repair work and ramped up the remodeling part of the business,” he says.

Phillipich is especially proud of his company’s Certified Aging-in-Place (CAP) accreditation. CAP is a joint training program of the National Association of Homebuilders and AARP, which calls for universal design modifications like open floor plans and making bathrooms and doorways wider for a more accessible environment for seniors and the physically disabled. Phillipich’s son, Craig, is the company’s CAP specialist.

“It’s the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s geared toward remodeling anything within a home to allow an elderly owner to continue to live there in a more accessible environment. I’m very excited about this part of our business,” Phillipich states.

Phillipich started the company, along with his brother, Marty, in 1984 by purchasing the retail portion of an East Lansing-based plumbing and heating company that was reeling from the recession of the early 1980s.

“It was similar to what is happening today,” Phillipich said. “Only the strong will survive.”

In today’s economy, Phillipich says “price consideration for services” is at the forefront of almost every customer’s purchasing decisions.

“It’s the first thing consumers think of, both homeowners and businesses. You have to be ever mindful of selling the value that goes with the price. You can’t lose sight of that,” Phillipich says. “I keep telling my employees to maintain the focus for what we have developed over the years. Don’t lose it.”

Meridian Plumbing, which has 21 employees, remains a truly family-run business today. In addition to son Craig, Phillipich’s daughter, Ann, works in marketing, accounting and customer service. Daughter-in-law Michelle runs the showroom and son-in-law Mike joined the company in 2005. Phillipich’s brother, Marty, runs the construction department.

Phillipich says he intends to eventually hand the company over to his two children with a well thought out exit plan for him. Before that, he hopes to branch out into a third trade, perhaps adding an electrical division in the next two or three years.

In addition to his commitment to the family-owned business, Phillipich is also very involved in the community, having actively served on Meridian Township’s planning commission and the township’s zoning board of appeals from 1997-2001. Phillipich has also served on the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce Governance Committee.
Phillipich, married to wife Linda for 37 years, was honored that his company received the entrepreneurial award. “It’s a very humbling experience. It makes me think of the wonderful customers and employees we have had through the years.”

Author: Randy J. Stine
Photography: Terri Shaver


Meridian Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Remodeling

1999 E Saginaw Highway

East Lansing

(517) 339-6300

Jim Philipich, Owner


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