Archive for the '50th Anniversary' Category

Bobby Bellini Hits a Home Run at Family-Owned Varsity Plumbing

A bit of Varsity history, as seen in Real Estate Weekly, July 3, 2013:

“My father was all about work,” says Bobby Bellini, President of Varsity Plumbing and Heating, the firm his father founded 50 years ago. “He was very regimented. He’d blow reveille in our house about 4:30 in the morning with the most annoying whistle you could possibly imagine.” We’re sitting in the conference room at Varsity’s headquarters in Flushing, Queens, and from the next room comes a trilling whistle. “That’s it!” yells Bobby as the sound comes again from his father’s office down the hall.

“I was the last of the three brothers to join the company, in the Fall of 1985,” says Bobby. “I was in college and then playing professional baseball, but Dad said, ‘You’re coming to work.’ So every day my brothers Ricky and Tommy and I would be roused out of bed by my Dad walking in, switching on the lights, and whistling till we couldn’t take it any more. Then we’d pile into the Suburban and leave every day at 5:10 am. We’d pick up our two neighborhood friends, take turns driving, and arrive at the office by 6:15 to start working.”

Building the Business Through Hard Work

The days were long and hard, and the Bellini brothers often stayed till 7 pm. “He was tough,” Bobby says of his father Bob, “but we built the business that way.”

Bobby was an outfielder with the Baltimore Orioles Minor League system at the time, and he recalls trying to fit in his workouts before and after working 12-hour days. His father would drop him off at a local track to run for an hour before work. After work, he’d practice hitting at the batting cage near his home. But in between practices and training, Bobby and his brothers Rick and Tom, were helping Bob Sr. build the family’s plumbing business.

Family owned and operated since 1962, today Varsity provides a wide range of services to all kinds of properties, from co-ops and condos to rentals and commercial properties. Varsity’s expertise includes plumbing, heating, cooling, sewer and drain cleaning, air and water quality, backflow prevention, pumping systems, and fire sprinkler/standpipe systems. Varsity’s headquarters, located in Flushing, New York, features a 28,000-square-foot office as well as an 8,000-square-foot parts warehouse with over $1 million worth of inventory, enhancing its ability to service its clients at any time of day, without the need to depend on suppliers. Their Long Island operation, Varsity Home Service, has grown to become Long Island’s premiere plumbing, heating and cooling service provider. From their office in Bohemia, they serve a customer base of over 25,000 Long Island homes. Varsity holds Licensed Master Plumber status throughout Long Island, the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester County and the State of New Jersey. They enforce a policy of drug testing, criminal background checks and credit checks for all employees. “We will not send anyone into your home that we would not invite into our home,” Bobby emphasizes.

For years Bobby has served as President of the Master Plumbers Council of the City of New York. Founded in 1889, the organization works closely with the City Buildings Department, City Council, the DEP, other agencies and City representatives to ensure that properties are operated safely and that code regulations are in place and enforced. The Council has been actively involved in initiatives such as backflow prevention, energy efficiency and requirements for using Licensed Master Plumbers to perform these kinds of health and safety-oriented installations and inspections. He remains an active Member for the Council, and is also a Member of the New York City Plumbing Licensing Board.

Supporting the Community

From the early days of Bobby’s involvement with the company, Varsity has supported a number of charities, contributing time and money to fundraising efforts. For nearly 20 years, they have supported the Boomer Esiason Foundation to fight Cystic Fibrosis. Founded in 1994, a year after the NFL quarterback’s son Gunnar was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, the Foundation has raised millions of dollars to help find a cure for this degenerative genetic disorder, as well as providing support for families affected by it.

Growing up in East Islip, Long Island, Bobby and Boomer went to the same high school “He was this 6’4” blond athlete destined to become a superstar, and I was this 5’3” 110 pound sophomore,” Bobby recalls. “We were both on the varsity baseball team, and Boomer took me under his wing, and kind of looked out for me.”

Bobby recalls the first fundraiser Boomer put together for the Foundation at the Irish Coffee Pub in East Islip. “Varsity contributed $5,000, and the event raised about $16,000.” Since then the organization has raised over $100 million, with funding support from business such as Varsity, along with national corporations and caring individuals.

Bobby teamed up with Boomer once again for a recent celebrity baseball fundraiser at the new Yankee Stadium against former Yankee greats. “We won 11-2,” says Bobby of his team, Boomers Bombers, which also included former Mets pitcher John Franco, Craig Carton, who co-hosts Boomer & Carton on WFAN, former NHL great Doug Weight and former NBA great Wally Szczerbiak. The opposing team included former Yankees such as outfielder Mickey Rivers, second baseman Homer Bush, Lee Mazzilli and General Manager Brian Cashman.

In addition to supporting the Boomer Esiason Foundation, Varsity has organized a food drive for “Long Island Harvest,” sponsored Little League and other local sports teams, and supports local churches, synagogues, and Fire Departments.

It’s a Family Affair

In addition to supporting meaningful charities and building relationships and trust with his customers, one of Bobby’s top priorities is family. His father Bob still visits the office nearly every day, and his brothers Rick and Tom, both Vice Presidents, are there daily as well. His brother-in-law, Mike Lyons, serves as Chief Financial Officer, and his sister Theresa manages the office of Varsity Home Services, their Long Island operation in Bohemia. Bobby’s daughter Erica worked at the company for a couple of years before setting off on her own.

Bobby still lives in Suffolk County, Long Island, near where he grew up, and still spends much of his down time enjoying the company of his family. On weekends and holidays, the siblings, their father, kids and various cousins often head up to the Finger Lakes region for fishing, quad riding, hiking and other outdoor activities.

“The most important thing for me is to continue building relationships with our customers by earning their trust and their confidence,” says Bobby. “Throughout the past 51 years, we have always remained true to the founding principles my father subscribed to when he started the business back in 1962: Do a good job, charge a fair price, stand behind your work, and always keep your word.”

That may sound like a simple formula, but it is that kind of an attitude that separates Varsity from their competitors.  How many times have you found yourself dealing with a contractor who has done a less than satisfactory job, and trying to get them to come back out to your building to fix their work? More often than you’d like, that’s for sure. “We try to treat every project like it is our own job, “ says Bellini, “we try and get it right the first time, and if there is an issue, we get right back on it until it is done correctly. We feel a sense of responsibility towards our clients, many of whom have been with us for years. We still have clients that started out hiring my Dad back in 1962, and now we are serving their children.”

Bobby Bellini (Number 24) played with "Boomers Bombers" against former Yankees players at Yankee Stadium to raise money for the Boomer Esiason Foundation to fight Cystic Fibrosis. With Bobby, from left to right, Craig Carton of WFAN, former Mets pitcher John Franco, and former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason.

Bobby Bellini (Number 24) played with “Boomers Bombers” against former Yankees players at Yankee Stadium to raise money for the Boomer Esiason Foundation to fight Cystic Fibrosis. With Bobby, from left to right, Craig Carton of WFAN, former Mets pitcher John Franco, and former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason.

Bobby and Mr Met

Bobby Bellini celebrates Varsity’s 50th Anniversary with Mr. Met, clients, friends and family, at Citifield last summer.

 

 

Year-End Reflections

Bobby Bellini, President of Varsity Plumbing and Heating, Inc.

Bobby Bellini, President of Varsity Plumbing and Heating, Inc.

As our 50th Anniversary year draws to a close, we have lots to reflect on and many more things to plan for in the coming year.

We hope you took advantage of our 50th Anniversary discounts of $50 off, advertised on our Website and our Facebook pages. Our Anniversary celebrations also included educational events and recreational events for our customers.

For 50 years, we have honored our founding principles, established by my dad, Bob Bellini, way back in 1962:

• Do a Good Job • Charge a Fair Price
• Stand Behind Your Work • Always Keep Your Word

And we will continue to honor those principles as we move forward into the New Year and beyond. We want to make sure you know what we stand for, and that we know without our customers—old and new—there would be no Varsity Plumbing and Heating.  Thank you for trusting us with your homes, offices and properties.

With 2013 comes plenty to think about and be aware of regarding your property. Following is a round-up of some of the important issues facing property owners:

Backflow Preventers: This is a huge issue for building owners and managers now and into the future. Only about one-quarter of the 128,000 buildings the DEP has designated as needing backflow prevention devices have done the necessary installations.  When you get your 30-day notice, contact us immediately. We have a complete one-call turnkey program that takes you from filing an extension to examining your premises and choosing the correct device to having an engineer design the system to installation and compliance. This issue will not be going away any time soon, and we encourage you to take it seriously.

Water Filtration: More and more people are coming to the realization that our drinking water is not entirely safe.  From the lack of filtration at most of our reservoirs, to chemicals being added by many water departments, to water running through old corroded pipes, more and more people are concerned about the quality of their drinking water. The EPA has identified more than 84,000 potential contaminants, but requires municipalities to test drinking water for the presence of only 90.  We have installed under-the-kitchen-counter reverse osmosis systems for many clients, as well as whole building filtration systems to protect everyone in the buildings you are responsible for.

Lunch & Learn Seminars: Many managing agents and owners have had us come talk to them—in their office—about plumbing issues their buildings face. From backflow prevention devices to water filtration, we have helped many of our clients understand the regulations they face and how to operate under the rules simply and at a reasonable cost.

Building-Wide Pipe De-Scaling: Our building-wide electronic de-scaling systems keep your pipes, boilers and hot water heaters running at the peak of efficiency while removing mineral “hardness” from your entire water supply. Instead of spending thousands of dollars a year on salt, which can cause health problems, these systems use a low voltage electronic vibration that shakes deposits loose over time, preventing future build-up. Water hardness is reduced to the point where it actually extends the life of water heaters and boilers.

Hurricane Sandy: Superstorm Sandy taught us all the hard lesson of how important it is to have back-up generators ready to pump water out of basements—and even higher floors—and boiler rooms, and up to residents for drinking water and flushing during power outages. We know how to install these generators so they won’t get flooded when water fills the basement, and we also know how to design pumping systems to prevent those basements from filling up with water. Let us do a walk-through of your property to help you improve your building’s preparedness and prevent future long-term damage when another big storm hits.

Please call us at 877-VARSITY to schedule an on-site analysis, a Lunch & Learn session, or to address any of your plumbing, heating, cooling, or water quality needs. We are available 24/7 and eager to help.

From our family to yours, Happy Holidays and here’s wishing you and your family a healthy and prosperous New Year!fireworks

Varsity and the Mets Celebrate 50 Years

By Bobby Bellini, President of Varsity Plumbing and Heating, Inc.

It was a great pleasure to celebrate Varsity’s 50th Anniversary among friends, family and clients at a Mets game on July 25th. Varsity rented a suite between home plate and first base at the new Citifield where our group of about 30 people were able to watch the Mets play the Nationals in comfort and style. With a full kitchen, sofas and tables on the inside, and ball park seats with counters outside, we had great views along with a delicious lunch and drinks for everyone.

I want to thank all our guests for joining us for the game and helping us celebrate 50 years in business. My father, my brother Rick and I went down to the field before the game where we were greeted by the Varsity logo displayed on the enormous field screen. My father, Bob Bellini, has great stories about how he got started in the plumbing business back in 1962. It was a thrill for him to be there on the field with us 50 years later, enjoying the success of all his hard work.

We had a few special visitors stop by the Varsity suite during the game, in addition to our guests. Mr. Met came by to shake hands and pose with us all. And Craig Carton of WFAN spent a few innings hanging out, talking and enjoying lunch.

Bobby and Rick Bellini with Craig Carton, center, host of Boomer and Carton Radio Show on Sports Radio 66 WFAN, at the Varsity suite at Citifield.

It has been our family’s great pride to carry on the Bellini tradition of top quality plumbing, heating, cooling and water quality services for all our customers. We thank all of you for celebrating with us at Citifield, and we look forward to many more years of serving our clients.

Thank you!

Varsity founder Bob Bellini flanked by sons Rick and Bobby at Citifield, with the Varsity 50th Anniversary logo on the big screen behind them.

Varsity Plumbing and Heating, Inc. Celebrates 50 Years of Business

Image

Above: Bob Bellini, founder of Varsity Plumbing and Heating, Inc., far right, with his sons, from left, Rick, Vice President; Tom, Vice President; and Bobby, President; and sons-in-law Robert McConnell, Field Supervisor, and Mike Lyons, Chief Financial Officer. They all work together at Varsity, a family business celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year.

It was a good year: the Yankees won the World Series, Jack Nicklaus won the US Open Golf Championship, and the first Target store opened. It was 50 years ago, 1962, and it was the year my father, Bob Bellini, got started in the plumbing business.

“I started the company with one old beat-up Ford pick-up truck, me behind the wheel, doing the job, getting back to a little storefront which I rented at that time for $60 a month. I’d greet my wife there who was doing the typing, answering the phones, and she had my little baby daughter in a bassinette. And that’s the way we started the business,” Bob Senior recalls.

As we celebrate our 50th Anniversary, Varsity Plumbing and Heating, Inc. has over 40 vehicles on the road and over 80 employees. Our headquarters, located in Flushing, Queens, features a 28,000-square-foot office as well as an 8,000-square-foot parts warehouse with over $1 million worth of inventory, enhancing our ability to service our clients at any time of day, without the need to depend on suppliers. Our company provides a wide range of services to all kinds of properties, from co-ops and condos to rentals and commercial properties throughout New York City, Long Island, Westchester and northern New Jersey. Varsity’s expertise includes plumbing, heating, cooling, sewer and drain cleaning, air and water quality, backflow prevention, pumping systems, and fire sprinkler/standpipe systems.

But as my father tells the story, “It was rough in the beginning. One time I got paid with two chickens. And I said at least we could go home and have something to eat.” Another time, “I had looked at an extensive job for an elderly couple. And after looking at it, they asked me how much it would be, and I told them ‘it’s four fifty.’ I did the job and they handed me a five dollar bill, and said, ‘keep the change.’” He laughs, remembering the moment. “So I couldn’t argue with them, but I learned that from now on, if I meant $450 I would say four hundred and fifty dollars! As the years went by, my sons joined me in the business, and they built it into a great, successful business.”

Although Bob Sr. has long since retired, his three sons run the company. My job is President of the company, and my brothers Tom and Rick are both Vice Presidents. All three are Licensed Master Plumbers, holding licenses in New York City, Long Island, Westchester County and New Jersey, and I am also a New York City Master Fire Suppression License holder. My brother-in-law Mike Lyons, is Chief Financial Officer, my brother-in-law Robert McConnell is Field Supervisor, my sister Terri runs our Long Island office, and my daughter Erica has joined the business, too.

It’s very hard to stay in business for this long without doing things right. You have to have a good reputation, do a good job at a fair price, stand behind your work, and always keep your word. Believe it or not, we are still serving some of the same customers that my father did 50 years ago. Now we are servicing their children and their families. It just goes from one generation to the next. We’re a family business looking out for families.

“I learned from my father and uncles that the key to a successful business is to put in a lot of hard work, a lot of time, and always treat your customers the right way,” says Erica. “I remember growing up with my father, the beeper would go off at 3 am with emergency calls, and even though it was late and he was trying to sleep, he would get up and make sure that the customers were always taken care of. It really taught me a lot about how you should run a business, and how you should treat people. I have a lot of respect for them and the way they run the business, and I’m very honored to be a part of it. I love working here.”

This year, 2012, is a celebration of my father, ‘Mr. B,’ as much as it is of Varsity Plumbing. Varsity performs all aspects of plumbing work. The greatest benefit that we bring to our customers is our ability to provide true 24/7 service. We’ll go out any time that somebody’s in trouble. If they need us, they call us, we come. The other value added service that we provide for our customers is reducing their plumbing and fire protection costs through our operational efficiency.

As part of our 50th Anniversary celebration, we are currently offering various promotions and contests, including a customer appreciation discount of $50 off any job of $250 or more, and a 1962 Trivia Contest on our Facebook page (facebook.com/VarsityPlumbing). Facebook Fans who answer Trivia questions correctly will be entered into our June drawing to win a Kindle Fire. In addition, B103 radio listeners are invited to win a pair of tickets, each week for the entire year, to see the Jersey Boys on Broadway. We are also planning a client outing to see the Mets this summer, which will include a visit to the dugout and some time on the field during batting practice.

Varsity is proud to serve properties of all sizes, from co-ops and condos to single-family homes, multi-family apartment buildings, and commercial properties. We offer one-stop service to meet all compliance obligations for backflow prevention installation and filing as well as complete water filtration and de-scaling installations and service. Our services range from building-wide systems to single unit repairs. Although we do accept credit cards, we no longer accept chickens for payment. For more information visit VarsityPlumbing.com or contact me, Bobby Bellini, President of Varsity Plumbing, at (877) VARSITY or (718) 358-5400.

Image

Bobby Bellini, President of Varsity, with his daughter Erica, who recently joined the firm.

Celebrating 50 Years in Business!

By Bobby Bellini, President of Varsity Plumbing and Heating, Inc.

Bobby Bellini, President, Varsity Plumbing & Heating

Bobby Bellini, President, Varsity Plumbing & Heating

As President of Varsity Plumbing and Heating, Inc., I am pleased to announce that we are currently celebrating our 50th year in business! Founded by my father Bob Bellini in 1962, we are proud of our heritage and of the reputation we have developed as a trustworthy, reliable and reasonably priced full-service plumbing company for the past five decades. Varsity provides a wide range of services to all kinds of properties, from co-ops and condos to rentals, private homes and commercial properties.
We operate on the same four principals we were founded on in 1962, and these are what have earned us the trust of property owners:

• Do a Good Job • Charge a Fair Price
• Stand Behind Your Work • Always Keep Your Word

Varsity’s expertise includes plumbing, heating, cooling, sewer and drain cleaning, air and water quality, backflow prevention, pumping systems, and fire sprinkler/standpipe systems.
Varsity’s Flushing, New York headquarters features a 28,000-square-foot office as well as an 8,000-square-foot parts warehouse with over $1 million worth of inventory. In Bohemia, our Long Island office has another 6,000-square-feet of warehouse space, enhancing our ability to service our clients at any time of day, without the need to depend on suppliers. We serve New York City, Long Island, Westchester, and northern New Jersey.
Varsity holds Licensed Master Plumber status throughout Long Island, the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester County and in the State of New Jersey. Hiring a licensed contractor ensures that your work will be performed in a safe and code compliant manner. Never have plumbing, heating or air conditioning work performed by an unlicensed contractor
Varsity is fully insured. Don’t take the chance of having a contractor perform work at your property without verifying that all insurances are current and of sufficient coverage. Don’t let damages caused to your property or injury incurred while on your property become your problem. Insist on verification of insurance.
Varsity has been nationally recognized by Plumbing and Mechanical Magazine for its efforts in water conservation, has provided radio commentary advising building owners on strategies for achieving maximum energy conservation and has provided expert commentary for numerous publications, including Habitat Magazine, and many articles published by the New York Times.
Varsity supports its community. We have organized a food drive for “Long Island Harvest”, provided donations to the Boomer Esiason Foundation for Cystic Fibrois research, sponsored Little League Teams and local sport teams, donated to local churches, synagogues, and Fire Departments
Varisty employs a policy of drug testing, criminal background checks and credit checks for all employees. We will not send anyone into your home that we would not invite into our own home. Stay tuned for ongoing Blog updates to keep you up to date on trends in heating, cooling, and other systems that can have a big impact on your quality of life. I look forward to hearing from you any time, and to working with you in the future.

Contact: rjbellini@varsityplumbing.com
877-VARSITY


Bobby Bellini, President of Varsity Plumbing and Heating, Inc.

50th anniversary