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Q & A with Chris Hitt: Surrounded by family

December 4, 2012

Chris Hitt, owner of Hitt Plumbing Co., moved with his parents from Riverside to Apple Valley in 1960. Hitt started school in Apple Valley at Yucca Loma School. His first job was paper boy for the Victor Press newspaper. He then went to work for Bud Parker at Parker’s Garage.

“While going to Apple Valley High School, I worked for Hugh Golden at the Richfield Gas Station in the Village of Apple Valley and my dad (Carl Hitt) at Hi Desert Plumbers in the Village of Apple Valley.”

In 1964 Newt Bass, CEO of Apple Valley Ranchos Development, asked Carl Hitt to name his new company Apple Valley Plumbing. In 1977 he changed the name to Hitt’s Plumbing Co.

“While working for my dad, I was trained as a plumber by Pete Weber,” Hitt said. “This man became my good friend and taught me everything mechanical about plumbing.”

In 1975 Hitt bought his first piece of property from Dennis Bender. In 1977 he married Cyndie Emlay. They were married 24 years and had four very special children, Hitt said. In 1978 Dennis Bender signed off Hitt’s grant deed as paid, helping Hitt get the loan to build his first house. With the help of good friends, Hitt and Cyndie built their first home.

“In 1979 my dad gave me the opportunity to buy Hitt’s Plumbing Co. with payments. (One truck, some tools, material, one secretary and my brother Chuck Hitt.) In 1980 I changed the name to Hitt Plumbing Co. By 1985 Hitt Plumbing Co. ran 45 trucks and employed 90 people. This was the land of opportunity.”

In 1985 someone from the Apple Valley High School had called Hitt to talk to students in a assembly about running a business.

“They said I was second largest employer in Apple Valley — the school district being the largest employer,” Hitt recalled. “They wanted me to let students know how important education is. In the early ’80s I was buying land from one of my dear friends, Lenny Brewster. This man taught me tons about banking, developing land, working with the County Road Department. We developed Pioneer Road in the Village and he helped me with my first commercial building.”

Hitt has been running Hitt Plumbing Co. for 35 years. He said he’s been blessed with good employees like Matt Schurger who has worked for Hitt Plumbing Co. for 28 years.

“I call Hitt Plumbing Co. a family owned business because my employees are like family to me and most of my kids work there — sons Chad Hitt and CJ Hitt, daughter Carrie Hitt and stepson Dwain Johnson.”

In 2000, Smitty Browning of the Lady “B” Ranch introduced Hitt to her daughter Lori Johnson. He recalled how he fell for this 5-foot tall “little girl” who is now his lovely wife.

Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: Like to go to the river, Montana fishing with Cliff Earp and Dumount dunes with friends.

Q: Who is someone who had a big influence on your life?
A: God, Carl Hitt, Lenny Brewster, Jim Tatum and Tim Brenn.

Q: Where do you find deep satisfaction?
A: My satisfaction in life has been being able to help the kids.

Q: If you could change one thing about Apple Valley today, what would it be?
A: A very important group of people in the Village of Apple Valley has developed the PBID. This PBID group, Town of Apple Valley and Apple Valley Chamber are working on making The Village of Apple Valley more attractive.

Q: Tell us about a happy memory in your first car.
A: Back seat.

Q: Who was your hero as a kid? Do you have a hero today?
A: My hero was my Dad. When I would get in trouble in school, it was the belt. When I was good, I could see it in his eyes and he would let me know with a hug or hand shake.

My other hero is my brother Chet Hitt, very proud of him. He worked with me at Hitt Plumbing Co. for years, built Sunset Hills Mortuary Park, giving the best funerals for people in the High Desert, Building the Topoc 66 Marina in Topock, Ariz.

Q: What are five things you can’t live without?
A: Family and friends.

Q: Tell us about one thing you are grateful for?
A: I am grateful to God that he has given me great parents, great wife, great kids, the best of friends, great living and the attitude to be happy in both good and bad times “He has tested me!”

Q: What your favorite places to eat in the High Desert?
A: I eat once a week at Mollies Kountry Kitchen in the Village of Apple Valley, A Fiesta Mexican Food in the Village. Viva Maria’s in Apple Valley, DiNapoli’s Firehouse in Apple Valley and the new Wild Willies Smoke House at the Apple Valley Airport.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to say?
A: I would like to thank everyone that has supported Chris Hitt and Hitt Plumbing Co. over the years.

Q: How can readers get a hold of you?
A: Chris Hitt, Hitt Plumbing Co. (760) 247-7474, e-mail: chris@hittplumbing.com.

Who would you like to see profiled in an upcoming Q&A? Drop us a line at News@AppleValley-Review.com.

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