By Mike Heronemus
Dallas Vanness was born and raised in Abilene, went away to school to begin a career and now is home again.
He moved his DVN Plumbing, Heating and Air business into an empty building at 105 N. Cedar St. June 1 and already is finding plenty of business to keep him on-the-job even though he’s not finished renovating the inside of his new business location.
He wants to get that done for the formal ribbon cutting ceremony planned for Friday by the Abilene Area Chamber of Commerce. He’s doing all the interior work himself, keeping the open, rustic appearance that first attracted him to the building. But, he has to do the remodeling work only when he’s not “on the job.” That means he’s working from sunup to sundown most days, Vanness said.
Vanness does light commercial and residential plumbing, heating and air conditioning installations and repairs. He had been doing similar work in Hays but, after his father died he decided it was time to come home to be near his mother. Besides, Abilene is home and who doesn’t like coming home?
One advantage to the move home, as far as being in business is concerned, is being open all day. In Hays Vanness restricted his work to evenings and weekends. He had to restrict his work to those hours because, during the day he taught plumbing, heating and air conditioning at North Central Kansas Technical School, the same school (Beloit campus) where he learned his skills.
“I was really getting burned out,” Vanness said, “so I’m excited about being home.”
Abilene is much smaller than Hays, so some have asked Vanness why he would risk coming home to work in his field. It’s an easy question for him to answer:
“I had talked with several people (in the business) who though there was enough work in Abilene to support one more company,” he said. Besides, not all his work will be done in Abilene, Vanness pointed out.
“I think this will be a good location,” he said. He plans to work in other towns throughout the county and “it’s only 29 miles to Salina, 27 miles to Junction City. Abilene is a great little town.”
Vanness also does his own sheet metal work, so he can customize ducting. He will be an Onyx dealer and have a small showroom displaying Onyx shower and bath designs. Now, “if someone wants to remodel their bath or shower, they don’t have to go to Salina,” he said.
Vanness also thinks he may have a slight advantage over similar businesses in Abilene. “I can do it all. There are only one or two other companies that can do that. Most of the companies in Abilene specialize in one thing.”