Albert Lea family-owned business enters 3rd-generation ownership

Published 3:17 pm Sunday, March 5, 2023

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A third generation is at the helm of Kelley Plumbing Heating & Cooling in Albert Lea.

Jeff Kelley, who took over the business about a year ago from his father, Dave Kelley, said he has been a part of the company since he was a child, helping his father and grandfather, Carl Kelley, who started the business in 1969 — the same year he was born.

As a teenager, he said he helped out a lot with what he described as “the grunt work,” such as handing his father and grandfather the tools while they did the main work. But in the process, he also had a lot of on-the-job training as a plumber.

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He learns so much that he has been a licensed plumber for over 30 years. He also went to school for heating and air conditioning in the 1980s.

“It’s the only job I’ve ever done,” Jeff Kelley said.

Dave Kelley said he started working for an uncle during high school and after graduation started working full time. One thing led to another, and he and his father decided to start their own business.

Kelley Plumbing Heating & Cooling runs the full gamut of work, whether it be new construction, remodeling or plumbing problems that come up for a homeowner. Jeff

Kelley said recently, they have done a lot of bathroom and kitchen updates.
He said the business mainly serves Freeborn and Mower counties, and he estimated they served an about 30-mile radius around Albert Lea.

Kelley leads a small team of a few plumbers and a receptionist out of the building at 923 S. Broadway Ave., where they have been since 1973.

When he’s not working, he said he enjoys going places and seeing things, whether that be a weekend trip or a vacation. He and his wife, Amy, have two children, Paige and Austen.

Kelley Plumbing, Heating & Cooling is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays but does emergency after-hours calls on request.