Meyers Plumbing and Heating closes; 110 years run by same Jewish family
Meyers Plumbing and Heating, a Jewish-owned business that spanned four generations over 110 years, has ceased operation. Its last day was Friday, Dec. 21.
The family recently sold the real estate to StartUptown, a company that provides incubator space to tech startups.
The final generation of the family to own the business, Lauren and Barry Friedman, could not be reached for comment this week.
Over the years, Meyers, which was located at 2212 Fifth Ave., Uptown, developed a reputation as a reliable supplier to contractors, universities, real estate management companies and city and county government.
But in the Jewish community, the Meyers family was, and still is, known for its active support of Jewish Pittsburgh and Israel. Jack Meyers, grandson of the founder, his wife, Bernice, brother-in-law Julian Falk and sister Tibey, all of whom had the business for decades and sold it to the Falks’ daughter Lauren Friedman in 2004, held many positions in local, national and international Jewish agencies.
“The fact that our business existed for 110 years, and a fourth generation was involved in running the business, is rather notable,” said Jack Meyers in a phone interview from his winter home in Longboat Key, Fla.
In fact, before leaving for Florida, Meyers said fans of the business were constantly stopping him at Giant Eagle and elsewhere around town, sharing their recollections with him. One well wisher recalled how the Meyers family extended credit to him so he could start his own business.
Meyer’s grandparents, Jacob and Molly Meyers, started the business in 1902 as a neighborhood hardware store. After Jacob became ill, his son Louis, a pharmacist, left his position at the Veterans Administration to take over.
Jack Meyers, Louis’ son, credits his father with transforming the business from a neighborhood hardware store to a plumbing and heating wholesaler.
Meyers, a 1952 graduate of Carnegie Tech who grew up working in the family business, inherited it from his father together with brother-in-law Falk.
“The business was quite successful and attractive, Meyers said, “and I went into it and prospered.”
Falk, a trained attorney specializing in international licensing, bought his father-in-law’s interest in the business when he became ill. Then he and Tibey moved from New York to Pittsburgh where he joined Meyers in its operation.
“Every day I thank my father-in-law for how he developed the business,” Falk said. “He was a very brilliant man.”
Members of Beth Shalom Congregation, the Meyers have been longtime supporters of Jewish causes.
He was a treasurer and vice president of the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and was active in its planning and allocations process as well as in Jewish education. He also served on the board of the Joint Distribution Committee, and continues to serve on Brookdale Institution — an arm of the Joint.
Bernice Meyers was president of Pittsburgh Chapter of Hadassah and continues to be actively involved in Federation’s Women’s Division, and the Friends Campaign of the Jewish Family & Children’s Service.
The couple, which made some 45 trips to Israel over the years, still lives in Pittsburgh seven months a year.
The Falks, who also split their time between Pittsburgh and Florida, were active in the community, too. Julian was a past board member of the Federation and the Chronicle. He was president of the Forward-Shady Apartments, founded the Jewish Genealogy Society of Pittsburgh, and both he and Tibey were active members of Beth El Congregation of the South Hills and Temple Emanuel of South Hills. Tibey also is an active Hadassah member.
The site of the business has a bright future as incubator space, according to Falk.
“It’s definitely going to be a valuable piece of property in the future,” he said. “There’s a plan for that part of town and as the economy gets better, it [development] is going to creep down that way.”
(Lee Chottiner can be reached at email@example.com.)