Geneva business survives ups, downs
35 AND COUNTING — For 35 years, DeWayne Jensen has been at your service at Jensen Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing in Geneva. (Star Eagle photo by Rachel Rietsema)
By RACHEL RIETSEMA
Many moons ago, DeWayne Jensen embarked on a business venture. And although he had no idea what the future held, he didn’t let fear didn’t stand in his way.
“I had just finished management school with Cenex,” Jensen said. “They wanted me to assume a managerial role, but I thought if I’m going to do that, I should probably be in my own business.”
He quickly turned this courageous idea into action, and evidently his efforts paid off, as he has claimed the title of Jensen Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing CEO for the past 35 years.”
“I pretty much self-taught myself by reading a lot manuals,” he said.
He added, “Through economic hard times, it’s always difficult for a small business to stay in business. You just have to choose to invest back into the business, gambling you are going to come out on the good side when things turn around.”
Never in a million years though, did he think that he would be blessed to stay in business for three and a half decades.
“The most difficult thing to do in the early years was to put in all the hours I needed to,” he said. “There’s a lot of hidden work to do like paying the bills, ordering and so on.”
To this day, he is still the first one to open the doors and the last one to leave. The phone always rings to him as well.
“I worked until 2001 without any more employees,” he said. “I started acquiring more business with new home projects and couldn’t do it all myself.”
No longer in the peak of new home construction, he and his four employees only finish off about 10 such jobs a year. That’s a big drop from an estimate of 100 new home jobs in one year’s time.
“In that peak time, I had nine employees under my belt,” he said. “2001 was also the year I hired a master plumber, as I saw that it would be a good fit with my heating and air conditioning business.”
He continued, “Some of our jobs come from builders because they are comfortable taking us on with a new job.”
Currently, these handymen repair a large variety of furnace brands. There are times however, when
some parts are not immediately available.
“We are not a Carrier dealer, but I have ways,” he said. “Amazon.com.”
Located on Geneva’s Main Street, their Kohler showroom’s plumbing fixtures can be very intriguing to those considering a remodel or building from the ground up.
“When people go on line and they type in their zip code, we are the first one that shows up in this area,” he said. “They can contact us via e-mail that way.”
Future customers will also be delighted when they realize just how fast Jensen responds to any form of communication sent his way.
“We like to respond as quickly as possible,” he said. “They can also rest assured that we have dealt with most issues in the plumbing, heating and air conditioning business. We also install geothermal systems, which involves setting up tubes under the ground so that we retrieve the heat from underground. We do that for cooling as well.”
Servicing about a 50-mile radius, they appreciate all the business that comes their way, the emergency night and weekend hours included.
“Unless I’m visiting my grandsons, I’m the emergency service guy,” he said. “If I am away from the area, the guys cover for me.”
For every service call, Jensen and his associates simply listen to what the customer needs. Some might be able to afford new systems while others just need to get by.
“I enjoy satisfied customers,” he said. “We always want to be cautious though because the things we deal with can create fires. It’s very hazardous.”