Harvey Co. brothers acquire Flaming Metal Systems

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

That well-known observation about life in general is actually a business goal for brothers Dwight Dyck and Charles Dyck of Hesston after purchasing Flaming Metals Systems Inc. from Mel Flaming last month.

The sale of the business, which features the construction of metal buildings for agricultural, commercial and residential customers, was finalized Oct. 10.

The biggest change under new ownership will be moving the headquarters from rural Peabody in Marion County to rural Hesston in Harvey County.

Otherwise, the product line (including the Butler and Lester brands of metal buildings), the subcontractors who did the work and even the name of the company and its current phone number will remain the same for the immediate future.

Above all, the brothers intend to continue the high quality of work and customer service Flaming established through nearly 35 years in the business.

?I always thought he had a nice, clean business,? Dwight Dyck said. ?We certainly intend to maintain the good reputation (Flaming) has developed.?

Dwight Dyck is no stranger to construction or to Flaming Metals. For several years, he and Ron Becker were partners in D&R Construction based in Hesston. The pair specialized in home construction and remodeling.

About seven years ago, they became one of several subcontractors Flaming has hired to erect his metal buildings.

The Flaming and D&R first connected through their relationships with Kropf Lumber in Hesston. Flaming mentioned to the people at Kropf that he was looking to replace a subcontractor who had moved on to other things. They suggested D&R Construction and passed the word on to Dwight.

Soon after, Flaming called Dwight.

?We started talking and their interests really matched what I needed,? Flaming said. ?It was like an arranged marriage, I guess.?

?It worked good for us,? Dwight said.

Planning for transition

Flaming said he and wife Marilyn, a nurse, have been talking more seriously in recent years about retirement. The future of Flaming Metals was a key component of those conversations.

?I talked to my accountant and some other people about how that would all look,? Flaming said about the idea of selling the business. ?In the process of that, they said most typically the best prospects (for a buyer) are the people you work with. That?s where these guys come in.?

Flaming said he talked about his plans with several of his subcontractors, not only to test their interest but to alert them that a change may be forthcoming.

?I didn?t want them to get a phone call from me one morning that they?re out of work because I quit,? Flaming said.

?Then Dwight called one day and said let?s talk some more,? he added. ?It?s not been a real long process.?

Conversations began in June and the sale became final about four months later.

The Dyck brothers said the timing seemed right for them to pursue the transaction. Dwight?s involvement with D&R Construc?tion had come to an end, and Charles recently had returned from a missionary stint of almost five years in El Salvador.

?We felt like it would be a good move,? Dwight said.

He and Charles incorporated as Prairie Building Systems Inc., doing business as Flaming Metals Systems Inc. Dwight will work as project manager and Charles will specialize in sales.

Flaming, meanwhile, will work as a technical adviser for the new owners during a transition period of undetermined length.

The business headquarters will be moved from about six miles northeast of Peabody (1160 Pawnee) to about three miles west of Hesston (10423 W. Dutch Ave.).

Business history

The history of Flaming Metal Systems Inc. precedes the Flaming family. Mel, his brother Del and father Dick purchased the business property from Ed Harder in fall 1976 and commenced business activity the following spring.

?There were three of us farming at the time,? Flaming recalled. ?Dad was thinking it was a little precarious to have all the interests just in one business. He thought we should spread out and do something in addition to the farming.?

For a few years, the family pursued both enterprises, but as construction work increased, farming took more of a backseat. Brother Del left the business within about four years, and when Dick retired in the early 1990s, Mel became the sole proprietor.

Initially, the business focused on grain bins. The first multi-use buildings were ag-related as well. Eventually the company expanded into commercial buildings and, lately, has constructed a few homes with the metal-system model because of upfront affordability and low exterior maintenance.

Flaming said he has no idea how many buildings his company has constructed over these 34-plus years.

?We do a number each year, and we?ve been around for a long time,? he said. ?There for a while I kept a map and put a pin at the different locations. I kind of gave that up, though. Some of the spaces got pretty crowded.?

Flaming admitted he has mixed feelings about the upcoming transition in his life.

?It was a very enjoyable business for me,? he said. ?I enjoyed working with people and overseeing the work at different job sites. The job involves a variety of activities during an average week.

?I?m going to miss it a lot.?

In addition to his consulting role with the Dycks, Flaming said he and Marilyn plan to sell their current homeplace, which includes the business and their house, and eventually build a home near Peabody. Mel expects to hobby farm and continue to be involved in a variety of community and church interests.

The Dyck brothers said they are excited about the prospect of beginning a new enterprise together and intend to continue the tradition of offering affordable, quality buildings for their customers.

The Dyck brothers can be contacted by phone at 800-713-2698. Charles? personal number is 620-951-4298 and Dwight?s is 316-651-6578. The e-mail address is prairiebuilding@gmail.com.

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