The Test of Time: “We are proud to carry on the family business tradition, continuing to provide the same high quality of service to our customers that we have always been known for.” Bruce Jefferson, owner of NC Jefferson Plumbing, heating, and air conditioning, and his daughter Jill Jefferson Miller, owner of Jefferson Bath & Kitchen, appear in the company’s showroom.
By Jan Stratton
sYou’ve definitely seen those cheerful yellow trucks all over town. Signature mark that NC Jefferson’s plumbing, heating, and air conditioning experts are in the works.
What you may not know is that the company has already been in business for 75 years! Now celebrating this historic anniversary, the company remains family owned and dedicated to providing fast, reliable service, quality products and conscientious customer attention.
Norton C. Jefferson opened in 1947, and the company established its first office in the family’s home on Valley Road.
“My father worked at Princeton University for a while, doing a variety of things, including plumbing and carpentry,” recalls Bruce Jefferson, who is now the owner of the company. “After he dropped out of college, he focused on plumbing, and then set up his own company.”
Jefferson remembers learning about plumbing at a young age. “My dad called me inventory when I was a boy. I counted pipes, tools, fittings, and other supplies. When I was about 12, I washed trucks and also helped put snow tires in the winter. I thought it was pretty good.”
After graduating from college, Jefferson worked in other areas for a while, but his heart was in the family business, returning full time in 1986. He took his plumber’s major license, which required four years of night school while also working a job as an apprentice. Then he had to work an additional two years before he could take the audition to become a master plumber.
Plumbing and heating services have been available since the company’s beginnings, and air conditioning was added 25 years ago. In addition, the company installs dishwashers and water heaters.
Admittedly, we’ll all need a plumber at some point. Toilets are stuck, leaky faucets, flooded basements, missing rings or other jewelry in the drain – you name it, it will happen!
Bruce Jefferson has seen it all, and although the business has changed in some ways, with advances in technology and new products and materials, much remains the same.
“Leaking faucets and running toilets are among the most common problems,” he notes. “We also have to deal with flooding after a heavy rain, always being called to find lost things that might have fallen down the drain or stopped the toilet.
play in the toilet
“We had to take rings and earrings out of the drain and take toys out of the toilet. We found out that a young child was enjoying throwing Tonka toys down the toilet. We also found several toothbrushes in another toilet, and finally, the mother said the baby didn’t want to brush his teeth!”
Really weird things have also come up, he says. “We found a woman’s wig in one tube and, again, a pair of boxer shorts. According to the story, the husband said at home: I don’t wear boxer shorts!”
That story has not been pursued and the outcome is unknown.
Jefferson mentions other unusual discoveries, including animal life and remains, during his work. “We found a snake outside in the air conditioning unit, as well as mice and squirrels.” However, there are no crocodile, raccoon, or wolf.
Residential work is the main focus of the company, although some commercial projects are also part of the job.
Additional services such as sewage line replacement assistance and water service are also available. As he explains, “Every home has a water service line and a sewer service line. We can help repair and replace the main water line between the street and the house.”
Jefferson says clients are from all over Princeton and the surrounding area, many of them long-timers. “A lot of our customers are now the second generation, even the third generation. They know they can count on us, and we’re ready 24/7. We have very loyal customers, and we also have a great old staff team. Some were with us for 10 and 15 years, and some were here for 30 years before retiring.”
work with dad
NC Jefferson Plumbing, Heating, and A/C and its subsidiary Jefferson Bath & Kitchen are located at 29 Airpark Road, second floor.
The Bath & Kitchen division opened in 1989 and is a separate business, now owned by Jill Jefferson-Miller, who joined the company in 2004. She is pleased to be part of the ongoing family business, and as she says, “It is especially so that I can From working with my father.”
With her background in earth sciences and environmental geology, Jefferson-Miller is in a unique position to inform customers of the latest environmentally friendly products and help them with their choices.
She is able to explain and advise on a wide range of considerations, from energy efficiency to the facts and aesthetics of natural stone countertops, sinks and tubs.
As in everything, trends come and go, and right now, large bathrooms, larger tiles, and hand showers are in demand. Additionally, Jefferson Miller notes that “people love matte black faucets, rectangular sinks, and brushed brass fixtures.”
The choices in every area are really great, and there is nowhere more amazing than the choice of toilets. A far cry from the days of “convenience,” “essential,” “privacy,” and “home out,” this highly functional product has undergone an almost unparalleled transformation.
“Bidet seats in your toilet are a pretty big deal right now,” says Jefferson Miller. “They can wash and dry, and some have heaters to sit on, auto open/close lids, and even a night light.”
All new toilets use 1.28 or 1.0 gallons per flush, compared to the 3.5 gallons used in the past.
Since all of these options are “popular”, it’s very helpful to get expert advice and Jefferson Miller’s guidance. She and her father pointed out that in light of the information widely spread on the Internet, people can sometimes be misled by what they have seen.
“A challenge today is people going to websites and then having unrealistic expectations about price ranges and installation. Prices can vary widely in different parts of the country.”
Whether people are coming for a new toilet, a new shower head, sink, or even a complete bathroom renovation, Jefferson Bath & Kitchen will provide what a customer needs. During the height of the pandemic, when many people were working from home, the number of remodels and renovations increased, and people were looking for new ideas.
She notes, “Installing a new bathroom is a complex process, and we’re the only bathroom and kitchen company associated with a plumbing company. We’ll install whatever you buy, and we know how things work. We only sell the highest quality items.”
on the highest level
Top products include Grohe, Jaclo, Kohler, Newport Brass, Moen, Stone Forest, Barclay Products, and Woodpro, among many others.
“Although we don’t get heavily involved in kitchen design, we love working as a general contractor on kitchen projects,” Jefferson Miller adds. “We work with local showrooms to design the kitchen, supplying kitchen sinks and faucets, which are on display in our showroom.”
As a respected mainstay at Princeton for three quarters of a century, NC Jefferson Plumbing, Heating and A/C has been noted for her charitable work over the years. Helping organizations and giving back to the community was a major priority for the company.
As Bruce Jefferson and Jill Jefferson Miller look to the years ahead, they plan, they say, “to keep pace with new products and new technology. At the same time, we will continue to provide the same level of excellent service that our customers have always depended on.”
aBruce Jefferson adds, “I enjoy the fact that every day is different. New job, new client, new location.”
For more information or appointments, call (609) 924-3624.