Archive for Wednesday, February 16, 2000

Duo buy heating and plumbing firm

February 16, 2000

It's not exactly a secret, but not everyone realizes that Kaiser-Slawson Plumbing and Heating Inc. changed hands three months ago.

In November, Chris Bartusek, Olathe, and Dan Balcolm, Grandview, Mo., became partners in the downtown Tonganoxie business.

There were other offers for Kaiser-Slawson, but these two men were determined.

"We were out here and had the opportunity to buy it. So we did like a couple of fools," Bartusek said with a laugh.

Bartusek has been in the heating and cooling business for 20 years. Of those 20 years, he worked about 11 years for Mike Kaiser in Kansas City. He has worked with Eddy Slawson in Tonganoxie since November 1998, when Kaiser purchased the business from Slawson.

Balcolm has worked for Kaiser-Slawson since January 1999. Besides that, he had worked for Kaiser. That is how the two men got acquainted. Balcolm also has worked for a parts company.

"Dan's no stranger to the business," Bartusek said.

"When we took over, things were already larger than life," Bartusek said. "We are working 12- and 14-hour days, six days a week."

Bartusek has no doubts that it will pay off in the long run.

"The potential is as good if not better if we had bought any possible shop anywhere else," Bartrusek said.

Because not everyone realizes that the business is under new ownership, customers sometimes are a little surprised when they walk in the business.

"It is a little hard at first when customers come in and don't see the same faces," he said. "There was one customer that was kind of leery. We want people to be taken care of and keep the money in Tonganoxie."

In November 1998, Slawson decided to sell the business that he had run for more than 30 years.

For awhile, Slawson will be on hand on a part-time basis to help make a smooth transition.

"We are both glad that Eddy will be here," Bartusek said. "Eddy spoiled the town and did good things."

Bartusek hopes that they can do the same for the community. He has high expectations for Kaiser-Slawson.

"We will take care of the shop, and it'll take care of us," Bartusek said. "We want to take care of the customers, then they will take care of us."

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