Keeping customers happy for 100 years: RM Beer & Son celebrates victory

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JACKSON COUNTY, MI – Roy M. Beer opened his business in 1922, and has helped thousands of residents with water since then.

A well and pumping service business in Parma is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. And, while RM Brewer & Son Inc. has seen many changes over the years, it has stuck to its mission of always keeping its customers happy with great service, said co-owner Shawn Brewer.

“It’s just a 100-year legacy,” he said.

When Roy first opened his operation, he manually inserted what were called point holes. A year later, deep holes were being dug with power tools. At the time, the company was drilling about 300 wells a year, except for seven during the Great Depression of the 1930s, said co-owner Douglas Beer.

Kenneth Brewer, Roy’s son, became involved with the business in 1937. His son Douglas joined in 1965 and essentially grew up on the job. He went to Ferris State University to study electrical and business and brought what he learned to the family business.

While he could pursue a different career, it makes sense for him to stay with the family business, Douglas said.

“[Kenneth]always left it open that I could pursue other interests; But I was an only child. So, I chose to stay with the family business, and I haven’t regretted it since,” said Douglas.

Today, the business is still owned by Douglas and now his son Shaun. Shaw said the two are keeping the tradition alive. Most of them learned how the business worked from each of their fathers over the years, Douglas said.

RM Beer & Son Inc.

Old Photos News Clips from RM Brewer & Son Inc. The well and pump service business is celebrating 100 years of business this year.

“It’s a lot of hands-on learning,” Douglas said. “You don’t really learn this business from any textbook.”

Over the years, RM Brewer has done great work for the state including Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Michigan State University, the city of Jackson, some surrounding cities and more. While the business does not drill wells, it still does pump installations, repairs, well drilling and upgrades.

Employees at RM Beer are not known to shy away from hard work, Shawn said. Making sure residents get their water is the company’s long-term No. 1 goal, he said.

This was even during the Covid-19 pandemic, Douglas said.

“We’re an important business and we’re very, very fortunate,” Douglas said. “We didn’t even know about Covid-19.”

From the beginning, RM Beer has built a reputation around Jackson County for the time, care and products they use during installation and maintenance, Shawn said.

“It makes a difference in how long (your career) lasts,” he said. “They called us and we haven’t been there in 35 years, we haven’t even had a service call in that long.”

It’s almost unrealistic for the business to reach its 100-year anniversary, because it’s one of the few remaining local watering holes, Shawn said. The family is grateful to the community of Jackson County and the surrounding area for their faith in them over the years, he said.

And the business plans to serve in the next 100 years, Shaun said.

“Thank you for all the good years of serving the community,” he said.

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