Local Firm Changes Hands

MINSTER — Gagel Plumbing and Heating in Minster has changed ownership after 50 years in business, as owner Don Gagel cuts back his hours in an attempt to eventually retire.

Gagel sold the business to Jason Buettner, owner of Fischer Plumbing and Heating in Delphos. Gagel said he plans to cut back from 50 to 30 hours per week while training a store manager.

In retirement, he plans to travel and play more golf, he said.

“When you’re in this line of work, there’s a real workaholic syndrome,” Gagel said.

The business, started by Gagel’s father, Bill, had two locations, one in Minster and one in New Bremen, but consolidated to one location between the towns on Ohio 66.

The same brands will be sold and warranties honored, said Gagel. Services will also be expanded as Buettner brings expertise in hydrojet sewer and drain cleaning, and video inspection of lines, along with outdoor services like renting portable restrooms for events.

The biggest change, said the new owner, will be an increased workforce thanks to the manpower available at Buettner’s other locations, meaning the company will be able to take on more industrial jobs.

“There’s a lot of opportunity in the area with the industrial areas,” Buettner said.

By adding Gagel’s business, Buettner has also expanded the footprint of businesses he owns to stretch from Defiance to Minster, he said. Having so many locations involved can keep a flexible workforce that can accommodate the small jobs that require only one or two people, up to the bigger jobs that require 10 or more. The other benefit is the combined experience. The employee that is the youngest in his career among the businesses, said Gagel, has 15 years of experience.

While Gagel looks forward to retirement, he said he’s had a good run in the area.

“It has been a pleasure to run a business in an area with people as industrious and honest as those who live and work in Auglaize, Mercer and Shelby counties,” Gagel said.