Plumber taps into the flow of the universe
There’s a plumber in town who can also help you quit smoking, make safe investments and know what your boyfriend is doing behind your back.
Merlin Jacobsen has one of the longest-running plumbing businesses in town and has a loyal clientele that also makes him one of the busiest.
Merlin Jacobsen Plumbing and Heating started in 1980 when there wasn’t a lot of competition in the area. As the community has grown, and more contractors have vied for business, he’s developed a reputation as an excellent "repair" plumber. His varied expertise makes him several contractors in one, he said.
"We have two homes and he’s done work on both. He’s very reliable and honest with reasonable prices," said Kristin Keller Nicolai. "My husband is very picky."
Leisa Lingwall said she’s called him many times.
"He’s really good and what he does and he knows what he’s doing. His business is so busy," she said.
Having been in town for so long, many people know him well. What some may not know, is that he started a side business about six years ago: telling fortunes and doing hypnosis.
He said he was in a relationship with an astrologer and was fascinated by how it works. He took classes, attended conventions and started doing it as a hobby.
Jacobsen has an adventurous personality. A current hobby of his is sky diving.
"I like to do different things, so I keep active," he said.
As more people found out, they asked for readings from him and eventually he just added that service to his plumbing business.
Now his van reads: plumbing, heating, astrology, hypnosis. And yes, Merlin is his real name. It’s just a coincidence that he got so interested in astrology, he said.
About 40 percent of his plumbing customers ask for a reading when he comes. Not all jobs take the full hour he bills them for, so getting a reading is a fun way for them to get the most for their money, he said.
"It’s a perk of calling me," he said.
People also schedule private sessions with him, especially for hypnosis. One client used him to overcome job-interview anxiety. She wanted to be a flight attendant and could always get a second interview, but seemed to say or do something wrong to sabotage herself from going further.
After a few sessions with him, she landed the next job she interviewed for. He said hypnosis was also able to help her ignore a hurt arm that occurred during training that might otherwise have stopped her from completing it.
Lingwall and Nicolai both enjoy getting readings from Jacobsen.
Nicolai said she and her sister have both done readings. When her friend comes to town for Sundance she’s going to give her a session as a birthday present.
Lingwall went to Jacobsen for relationship advice. She’d been divorced for a few years and wasn’t sure about the men she was dating at the time. Jacobsen identified problems with each of them (which turned out to be true) and said she’d find "the one" within two years. Just short of two years later, Lingwall got married.
"He was pretty right on with his predictions," she said. "Everything he told me was right on."
Although he’s gotten to know a lot of people in Park City through their pipes, Jacobsen said he loves the more intimate connections he makes through readings.
He can do horoscopes, financial predictions and, as Lingwall discovered, relationship advice.
Most people are familiar with performing hypnotists, and the basic techniques are the same, but hypnosis as therapy can be very helpful, Jacobsen said.
Besides battling anxiety, he said treatments can help people overcome cravings associated with smoking and eating.
Jacobsen joked that just having these extra services on his van gets him more customers:
"People call me to come and say, ‘I just wanted to see your face and see what you were like after seeing your van.’"
Merlin Jacobsen Plumbing and Heating
11 Hauz, which opened last summer, serves traditional Jamaican food such as jerk chicken and shrimp, beef patties and fried plantains.