Spotlight on business – four generations in business

37_spotlite_bain-plumbing_5108GENERATIONS IN BUSINESS  — From left, Travis Walter holds his son Caleb while twin sons Noah and Evan sit above next to grandma Patty Walter. The sons of Travis mark the fifth generation to be added to the Bain’s Plumbing and Heating family.  I-O Photo by Deanna Wakkinen

By Deanna Wakkinen, I-O Reporter

From a town rich on values and community comes our ‘Spotlight on Business’ which highlights a business, gives emphasis on their contributions to our community and remembers their history.

No history is as rich as one that begins four generations ago. Started in the early 1950’s by John Bain, Bain’s Plumbing and Heating used to be located on Front Street next to Moon’s Café. The Bain family moved to the area in 1932 when his son was just an infant.

In 1958, his son, also John Bain, took over until his passing in 2003. During those years, the shop moved to Dakota Street and even burned down in 1993.

The business continued to operate out of a trailer on the property until 2006 when the current new shop was put up.

It was 12 years ago when Patty Walter, the daughter of John Bain Jr. and the third generation to run the business, stepped in for her father. Her son, Travis Walter, the fourth generation, has worked for the company since he was 14 years old and is currently a journeyman working towards becoming a master plumber.

Over the years, from the days of her dad, as Patty puts it, they have seen plumbing transform from lead and cast iron fittings to PVC plastics. They have also watched as homes switch from copper water pipes to water pex tubing. She says fixtures are fancier than ever before. The days of the pilot gas valve furnace are fading as the new 80-90 percent high energy efficient electronic boards move in.

With three young boys, so far, Travis and his wife Anna continue to bring potential plumbers into the family, and Grandma Patty says she hopes one will decide to keep the business in the family.

Other employees of the company have also put in over at least 20 years with the company and they include master plumber Dave Huyghe, journeyman Ken Judisch and installation man Roy Baumann. Judisch and Baumann work during the winter months while on the off season of farming.

The Bain family offers an annual scholarship to Conrad High School graduates who are going into a technical school or for nursing. Their $250 scholarship is given to at least one candidate or is split between two.

Travis Walter is proactive in FFA and volunteers annually at the FFA Mechanical Competition where he teaches a seminar. He is also involved in local school job fairs.

Bain’s Plumbing and Heating provides plumbing, heating and air conditioning services, sales and parts. They are located at 315 S. Dakota and can be reached at 278-3815. Their winter business hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If you would like to nominate a business in Conrad or the surrounding area, you may contact Wakkinen at 271-5561 or e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .