Demitrio Milani - Founder
Our story begins over 50 years ago with one man and a dream. The man was Demetrio Milani, the dream was to be able to care and provide for his family.
Milani Plumbing Drainage & Heating, the plumbing contractors Vancouver residents have grown to know and trust, started as Milani Drainage in 1956. Demitrio, fondly referred to as the Chief, with the help of his wife Linda, decided to get into the drainage business. He bought himself a pick and a shovel, stuffed them in a canvas bag and went out to dig ditches; his only mode of transportation - the streetcars. After only a short time in the business, the chief started to make a name for himself not only for his quality workmanship but also for his idiosyncrasies; he loved to write poetry and he was known to break into song whenever the notion took him, at work, on the streetcar or even in a restaurant.
As time passed, the Chief wasn’t able to keep up to the demand for his work so he hired some labourers. Linda, his wife became much more involved in the business as the chauffer, banker, secretary and sometimes even as an extra labourer. They would arrive at a job site all crammed into a station wagon; the Chief, the hired help, their tools, and their youngest son who was then just a baby. Linda and the baby would wait parked in front of the house until the job was done, helping out if the work wasn’t completed by dark.
Our current president, Vern Milani, began his introduction to the plumbing and drainage business long before he began school -- first from the window of the station wagon, and later with his own pick and shovel.
The family opened their first landmark plumbing and drainage supply store right in the heart of what is now the Metrotown area. The store was well known for being able to supply you with anything you could possibly need to complete almost any plumbing or drainage project. People came to shop, get advice and sometimes just to talk. Vern continued his business education every day after school when he was expected to work in the shop.
Eventually, the family built their new store in the current location at 5526 Kingsway. With two trucks on the road and Vern & the Chief in the shop, Milani Drainage & Plumbing Supplies Ltd. began to evolve.
The company continued to grow with new trucks added each year; additional sales and office staff and computerization. In the early 90s as the company's focus began to move from drainage to plumbing, drainage and heating service work, the company changed its name, one last time, to Milani Plumbing, Drainage & Heating and is known today for being able to provide more than just the average emergency plumber Vancouver has to offer.
Milani has grown from one man into a thriving business consisting of sixty service trucks and dozen drainage technicians. The Chief’s dream of supporting his family has grown, and the company now supports close to 100 employees and their families.
As history repeats itself, Milani continues to grow at a rapid pace, but, in spite of the growth, the Milani Family has never forgotten its roots. Now, as one of the top plumbing contractors in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, Milani continues to offer its customers the great service, professional workmanship, honesty and integrity that has made it what it is today.