More than 40 years ago, Brian Boyett walked the streets of the East Valley carrying two small glass bottles — one filled with unfiltered “hard” tap water and the other with water that had been softened through a filtering system.
He put drops of liquid soap in each bottle, shook them and showed his customers how the filtered water created more suds and, thus was cleaner than the unfiltered water.
He’s still shaking those bottles.
“The water in the East Valley is harder today than it was when I started my company,” said the 76-year-old Tempe resident and founder and co-owner of Boyett Family Rayne Water Conditioning, 38 E. 5th Avenue, Mesa.
How does water become hard?
“Rainwater falling out of the clouds is perfectly soft,” answered Boyett. “It hits the ground, then percolates down. Desert soil is filled with calcium and magnesium and other hard chemicals. The once soft rainwater becomes hard as it absorbs the soil’s contaminants. It stays hard as it enters your home.”
Unfiltered hard water can cause dry skin and poorly rinsed clothes as well as other problems such as leaky water pipes, clogged faucets and other household problems that raise plumbing expenses, Boyett said.
He opened his family-owned firm in January 1964 in a 1,200-square foot office with a small parking lot for a few company trucks. Today, the number of clients has gone from a few hundred to more than 15,000, mostly in the East Valley, and the company has expanded its space to more than 20,000 square feet.
The other family members and company owners are his wife, Roberta, 70, head of accounting; his son, Hayden, 39, managing partner; and daughter, Katrina, 41, head of customer service.
The company sells and services two basic water softening methods:
• A metal tank containing thousands of resin beads that absorb hard minerals in the water used for baths, showers, toilets, clothes washing machines and other household requirements.
• A reverse osmosis filter system that contains a membrane and filters to clean the hard and potentially harmful ingredients in drinking water. They are also used to filter water to ice cube makers in refrigerators.
Both filtering systems require regular replacement and cleaning, a service provided by the company.
Each day, the company’s technicians replace the resin beads in the larger metal tanks for more than 60 East Valley customers at an average cost of $39 monthly. The tanks are generally switched every 28 days or every 14 days.
The smaller reverse osmosis systems, installed under the sink, also must be regularly serviced.
The elder Boyett grew up on a stock farm near Albany, Texas. He studied agriculture at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. After graduation he worked for the National Cotton Council in Texas and California before moving to the Valley in 1957, where he continued as a spokesman for cotton farmers.
After eight years promoting Arizona cotton, he started selling water softening products from the Rayne Corporation of California.
His son, a graduate of Corona del Sol High School in Tempe who earned a degree in finances from Arizona State University, said the water softening industry in Arizona is booming.
“The demand for water softeners has been steadily growing, especially in the East Valley as more people move here and where the water is harder compared with other areas in the Valley,” said Hayden Boyett.
His sister, Katrina graduated from ASU, and their mother, Roberta, earned a degree from the University of Arizona.
Hayden Boyett estimates the company has served more than 30,000 customers during its more than four decades in the business.
“We’re being called by the grandchildren of some of our original customers,” he said.
He estimates the company has grown 10 percent on average each year since 1995 when he first began tracking its expansion.
Family: Brian Boyett, 76, and wife, Roberta, 70; son, Hayden, 39, and daughter, Katrina, 41.
Home: Brian, Roberta and Katrina Boyett reside in Tempe; Hayden Boyett lives in Chandler.
Occupation: Brian Boyett, founder and owner with other family members of Boyett Family Rayne Water Conditioners, 38 E. 5th Avenue, Mesa.
Key Achievements: The longest continuously owned water treatment supplier in the Valley and Arizona. Company started in Mesa in January, 1964 with a few hundred clients and today has more than 15,000.
Philosophy for success: We prize our customers’ loyalty above everything, and we stop at nothing to ensure complete satisfaction.
Mission Statement: Our mission is to be the best water treatment company in the United States by providing exceptional customer service and exceptional products and services that exceed our client’s expectations. Information:(480) 969-7251 or www.azh2o.com.