With an established footprint in the area and a staff consisting of longtime friends and partners, 1st Choice Plumbing Co-owners Jay Blankley and Dave Dains are looking forward to living up to their namesake for area residents.

Opened just two weeks ago at 704 Industrial Road, Blankley and Dains — joined by Sven Beitz and Dylan Freund, who are not only longtime friends but also have repaired and replaced numerous water and sewer systems for local homes and businesses over the last few years — saw opening their own business as a natural progression of their work in the industry thus far.

“We all worked for the same plumbing company here in town, me being the longest-tenured at eight years,” Blankley said. “Before that, I built homes as a licensed contractor with my dad around Emporia. I decided to go into plumbing for a couple different reasons, number one being that water is one of the most destructive forces on earth. We’ve seen that with some of the recent flooding around the area. So, I really wanted to provide a service that could help people out on that end. It was also something I’ve done in the past when I was building houses, of course. I was around all the trades when I did that — electrical, plumbing, heating and roofing — so it was already something I knew well and I had a familiarity with the coding involved.”

Despite their deep connections to Emporia, 1st Choice Plumbing staff also recognize the need for such services in the county’s more rural areas.

“The main thing starting our own shop has allowed us to do is to expand who we can reach,” Dains said. “I think it’s going to be a really great opportunity for us and will give us a chance to maybe reach people that would usually have a harder time in getting dependable help where they live. I actually recently moved up to Pomona Lake, and I’m hoping to be able to do more work up there as well. So as we’re starting out, there are a lot of possibilities that we’re going to keep open to kind of adapt our service area as the need presents itself.”

Moving forward, they’d like to become the go-to option for those looking to cut down on the sometimes elevated costs associated with out-of-town orders and repairs.

“If somebody needs our help somewhere, that’s where we’ll plan to go,” Lopez added. “We’ll just about go anywhere in the state within reason — places like Eureka, Strong City, Cottonwood Falls, Olpe and Council Grove. We want to be a business people in the area can depend on. We work with both residences and businesses and can help with anything as far as repairs and replacements are concerned, from faucets to sewer lines and whatever else you could think of along those lines.”

In the near future, 1st Choice also plans to enter the realm of water softening equipment.

“We’re going to see if we can get our own brand of softeners here for water purification,” Blankley said. “We want people without access to the cleanest water to know they’re getting rid of those dangerous germs and chemicals they might not want to drink, so I would encourage customers to stay in the loop on that.”

Those looking for more information on available services and pricing can contact 1st Choice Plumbing at 620-208-6505 during regular business hours, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Staff can also be contacted through the company’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/1st-Choice-Plumbing-KS-111413117242662.

“I would just encourage those curious about us to consider giving us a try,” Lopez said. “These are guys that have already been a fixture in this community, and guys that will be recognized by a lot of customers right off the bat.”

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