Central Arizona Supply grows into Gilbert.
Jeremy Smith can’t really relate to the idea of “sibling rivalry.” He and his brother Brandon Smith and sister Andrea Willey are the fourth generation of siblings to operate plumbing supply and appliance company Central Arizona Supply.
Not only do they get along, but they’re expanding the family business by transforming the 54-year-old Potato Barn building in Gilbert into an adaptive reuse retail and restaurant hub. Dubbed The Higley Barns, the multimillion-dollar project is the Smith family’s first foray into real estate development.
“It’s such a neat building. I can’t tell you how many people go and take pictures. I used to,” says Jeremy Smith, whose family has owned the property since 2015. “So many people told us to tear it down, but we want to make it work so that we can use the existing building. We would like an iconic building. I still want to have places that people would be interested in bringing their family to take pretty pictures.”
Half of the 20,000-square-foot main building will house Central Arizona Supply’s newest showroom, while the rest will be rented to tenants. Plans also call for construction of three additional buildings on the property. Construction is slated to begin in fall 2020 and be completed by summer 2021.
The idea is to create a one-stop shop for home design, supporting the showroom with “like-minded businesses” that specialize in tile, cabinetry, countertops, etc., and then surround that home hub with local retail, restaurants and entertainment.
“Gilbert has so many younger families that are interested in design and making their homes super livable yet also artistic and expressing who they are,” Smith says. “Arizona is obviously a growing, thriving market and we just work really hard to create a compelling experience for people to stay local and shop local.”