old sign

Original 1930's sign

Batton Plumbing: History

Batton Plumbing was founded by C J Godsey in the 1930's. Godsey Plumbing serviced what are now the older homes in the Downtown St. Petersburg area. Mr. Godsey was a man of work and poetry. As the president of the St. Petersburg Poetry Club, he was known to come to work every day in a suit and tie, and he read poetry to female customers while his plumbers did the repairs.

Mr. Godsey's apprentice, Bob Wechtel, took over the business and renamed it from Godsey-Wechtel Plumbing to Wechtel Plumbing.

Johnny Batton soon joined the business. Years later, after Mr. Wechtel retired, Mr. Batton took over the shop and renamed it Batton Plumbing. In the 1960's and early 70's, Bill Hays began working at Batton Plumbing and later partnered with Mr. Batton.

In the 1980's, Bill became the sole owner and incorporated the business. Bill chose to concentrate the business on Old Northeast homes as well as the now historic downtown hotels. Mark Hays, Bill's son, and later Rick Owens, Bill's oldest grandson, joined the company.

Mark and Rick became active members of the Pinellas Chapter of the Plumbing Heating and Cooling Contractors Association (PAPHCC). Over the years, they helped to promote good business practices and education. Mark served on the Board of Directors from 2001 to 2014, and Rick served on the Apprenticeship Board from 2011 to 2013. Both are strong supporters of the advancement of the plumbing profession. In 2011, Batton Plumbing was recognized as Contractor of the Year by the PAPHCC in recognition of all their efforts.

In 2020, Mark’s daughter and son-in-law, Robert William Mitchell III and Annie Mitchell, joined the team with hopes of continuing the family legacy.