Naughton’s was founded in 1951 by Frank J. Naughton, Sr. when the population of Tucson was approximately 40,000. The first location was a modest 25 foot by 65 foot store located at 2527 South 4th Avenue. Frank and his wife, Angela, worked together to build the business from the very beginning.
Frank J. Naughton, Sr. had come with his family from Pittsburgh, PA, with a strong background in the plumbing and heating field. He was the head buyer and manager of the heating department for a five store chain called Keystone Plumbing Sales Co. and was also an associate member of the American Society of Heating and Ventilating Engineers.
For two years the couple operated the business at this location with the help of their two boys, Frank Jr. and Jim, aged 13 and 10 respectively. The boys worked at the store on weekends and during the summer helping their parents and learning the business. After two years at this location, Frank Sr. saw the necessity of a new and larger sales location to include not only a larger area, but also a larger warehouse and yard area.
Early in 1954 Frank Sr. purchased National City Market and a small gas station located at the corner of South 6th Avenue and Columbia. The building was right next door to Hinton Hardware, a competitor. Frank had the market torn down and put up a 4,100 square foot building with a showroom, warehouse and fenced-in yard area. The gas station was left standing and leased out for additional income. As a result of their move, sales began to grow. So much so that in two years, when the tenant decided to leave, Frank had the gas station demolished and put on a new addition into the sales area.
In 1962 Frank J. Naughton Jr., upon graduating from the University of Arizona with a degree in marketing, joined his father in the business on a full time basis. In 1963 Jim Naughton graduated from the U of A with a degree in marketing and joined Frank Sr. and Frank Jr. in the business full time.
The year 1965 was a very significant one for the company. This was the year that the firm was incorporated under the name of Naughton Plumbing Sales Co. Inc, with Frank J. Naughton Sr., President, Frank J. Naughton Jr., Vice President and James H. Naughton, Vice President. During this same year another expansion was accomplished with the purchase of Hinton Hardware next door and the vacant land comprising the remainder of the block.
In 1967 another expansion was completed with the addition of a 3,000 square foot warehouse. This was also the year that Naughton’s joined an exclusive plumbing buying and merchandising group called National Supply Distributor’s Association. This group opened up many lines of a factory basis, which, up to now, had not been available. Besides putting the firm in a better buying position, it also provided Naughton’s with invaluable current market information and the latest techniques in marketing hard goods.
A profit sharing plan was instituted in 1970 to round out the benefits provided by the company, which included comprehensive group medical coverage. It had long been a dream of Frank Jr. and Jim to open a new store to serve the fast growing east side of town. After a great deal of studying and research, a lot with 150 foot of frontage and 190 feet depth on Speedway was purchased from Alex Marshall in 1971.
Defco Construction completed the building in September of 1972 and the store had its grand opening in November of that year. The 8,500 square foot building was modern in every aspect and represented the latest thinking in merchandising hard goods.
In 1974, at the age of 70, Frank J. Naughton Sr. retired from the business and Frank J. Naughton Jr. assumed the Presidency of the company with Jim as the Vice President. A retirement party was held for Frank Sr. at this home that was attended by many of his friends and business associates. He was presented with a plaque, which read as follows:
Naughton Plumbing Sales Co. Inc.
Pays Tribute to Frank J. Naughton, Sr.
President and Founder
On the Occasion of His Retirement We Present This
Plaque in Grateful Appreciation of His Untiring Efforts
And Devoted Service Which Brought this Company from
A Humble Beginning to a Strong, Vibrant Member of the
Tucson Business Community. Your Standards of
Excellence and Integrity are an Example to All of Us.
October 13, 1974
In 1980, after a long illness, Frank J. Naughton Sr. passed away. The years between 1975 and 1979 were years of growth and consolidation of the corporation. These years saw continued growth and increased efficiency and organization. Then in the summer of 1979 Frank and Jim took the first step toward the opening of a third store with the purchase of 21/2 acres adjacent to the Flowing Wells Shopping Center on Prince Road.
The purpose of the new location was to provide a third store, a much needed central warehouse and yard, and a main headquarters for the company. Plans were completed in the spring for 1983 and construction was set to begin. Then disaster struck! On Friday evening, May 13th, 1983, the Southside location burned to the ground. At that time it was decided to put the construction of the Prince Store on hold and to rebuild the Sixth Avenue location. Within a week a location was found for a temporary Southside location and a sign was erected at the burnt down location stating our intent to rebuild and that “We’re Not Just Sitting on Our Ashes!” Our temporary location was up and running within two weeks.
The next year and a half was hectic indeed, but much was accomplished. During that period we rebuilt and opened our South Sixth location and in the fall of 1984 we opened our new headquarters on Prince Road. The loyalty of our employees during this stressful period was inspiring and something we will never forget. During this period, many of the local businesses, even our competition, were gracious enough to help us get back on our feet. This was a time in Tucson of “strong community ties” even among competing businesses.
Over the next 12 years the company continued to grow and prosper. It was a time during which we, as a company, developed our niche in the marketing area. We focused in on developing a high level of customer service and directed our emphasis to product line where we could be the strongest in our market. The strategy worked well. During that time we also introduced the computer to our business and a full-blown commitment was made to its implementation throughout the company. This proved to be a giant step in the growth and efficiency of our company. It was also during this period that Frank W. Naughton, the son of Frank Jr. joined the company and became the manager of the wholesale department.
In mid 1995 we began in earnest to look for a fourth location. We felt that the area of greatest opportunity was on the southeast part of Tucson. A location was finally selected on East 22nd Street, just a few blocks west of Sarnoff. Construction for the new location was started in the fall of 1996 and the store was opened in mid January of 1997 with a formal Grand Opening celebrated on March 15th. During this time, under the direction and design of Monica Naughton, all of the stores were repainted and new signage was made to create a uniform Naughton look.
As of January 1st, 2000, Frank W. Naughton became the third President of Naughton’s and he will continue to operate and grow the business into the millennium.