Bringing Beauty to Kansas City and Giving More to Customers Than They Expect to Get
These two local businesses provide not only quality products and services but also something money can’t buy: honesty, integrity and a commitment of service to others.
While these two local businesses may not necessarily be a part of your daily errands list, more than likely you have seen their handiwork all over town.
Kansas City is known as a place for its amazing artwork. A simple stroll among its diverse neighborhoods and commercial districts will definitely prove its beauty in all things, and sometimes the artists of such wonders are well-known, and at other times, we take for granted just how such beauty has woven its way into our culture. Not every artist creates with a brush, a palette, pottery or paint. Some create with equipment and materials that may seem raw initially, but the end result is nothing short of stunning.
Two area businesses are responsible for an appreciable amount of beauty that we see around the city on a daily basis: Gieske Custom Metal Fabricators and KC Restoration. Strong local roots and desire to deliver service and products with the utmost of integrity and honesty are what have escalated these two companies to the top of their respective industries.
For more than eight decades, Gieske (geese-key) has been a custom metal fabricator, meeting the needs of over 500 companies throughout the greater Kansas City metropolitan area. Founded on the core principles of service, quality and value to a diverse market, Gieske’s products include industrial equipment fabrications, architectural products, HVAC, metal building accessories, machine components, railroad specialty tools, safety stands and platforms, processing equipment and so much more. Everything is produced by highly skilled sheet-metal-workings journeymen using the latest in metal working techniques, allowing for unique fabrications of metals. Throughout its proud history, Gieske has remained active in construction and industrial work. Today, Gieske has a strong focus in the area of manufacturing. The technicians are not only metal working specialists but also well-versed in project or product development work, advising in project design and coordinating all aspects of a project specifically per the client’s request. Their attention to detail, short turn-around time and desire to oversee a manageable amount of clients are just a few of the reasons why you should choose Gieske.
“We create custom metal fabrications for anything from widgets to whatever,” smiled Dean Isackson, Gieske’s vice-president referencing some of the many features about town with which you might be familiar. “We created the screen wall behind the pipe organ at the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts, the program boosts at the Kansas Speedway, concessions booths for schools, crosses for churches, waterfall features, abstract artwork, and railroad safety equipment.”
Gieske’s menu of services include custom range hoods, stainless steel countertops, custom metal fabrication, custom electrical boxes and wireways, control panels and enclosures, machine guards, work platforms and stairs, ornamental sheet metal work, custom metal door frames, elevator cab and entrance frame cladding and so much more. They are competent in the use of mild steel, stainless steel, along with galvanized aluminum, copper, brass, and zinc.
Isackson began his career with the company 31 years ago literally on the ground floor.
“I started as an apprentice floor sweeper and when I was three years into it, I was asked if I wanted to buy into the company but at the time I could not afford it,” he said.
However, Isackson knew he wanted to eventually own a business and remain in the metal fabrication arena. Eight years later, this self-described “Raytown boy” bought the company and hasn’t looked back since.
“This is my 31st year in the trade,” he noted. “I was trained by the Sheet Metal Workers Local #2 in its apprentice training school, initially worked on cars and then transitioned to HVAC schools where I worked on a sheet metal worker’s car. He was the one who encouraged me to get into the apprenticeship.”
The business partner with whom Isackson initially purchased the company eventually retired, so Isackson’s wife, Johna, bought him out.
“She is the President and I am the Vice President,” laughed Isackson. “Turns out she is a good one! She oversees all things in the office while I oversee the man power and estimate jobs.”
Whether a large commercial endeavor or a simple residential project, industrial or ornamental, Gieske does them all and stands confidently at the ready.
“If you want a new hood for your range, for example, you can bring a photo in for an idea and we can duplicate it and manufacture it for you. We work with a general contractor who can remove your old hood and install the new one, and if you want a certain patina finish, then we can refer you to Bill,” noted Isackson, referencing the owner of KC Restoration, with whom Gieske routinely collaborates on various projects, and this partnership is proving to be an extremely successful one.
As owners of KC Restoration, Bill and LeAnn Luemmen wanted to establish a business with a heartfelt purpose of using profits to improve the lives of its employees. “It has always been our desire to lead a purposeful life and one way to do that is to give jobs to others. We are not just providing an hourly wage, but an opportunity to develop a rare skill and be rewarded for hard work and integrity.”
Their overall mission is to positively impact people’s lives, and that’s not just done with the quality of their work, but also with the attentiveness to the relationships built with employees, vendors and customers. “This is a fun and rewarding business,” noted LeAnn. “We are blessed with great employees, service providers and clients. We value the relationships we have developed with all of them and are always seeking ways to add value to their lives.”
Bill, a retired police captain and LeAnn, a former teacher, relocated to the Kansas City area from California in 2011 so that they could provide their daughter with the quality education associated with the school districts here. While still living in California, Bill was introduced to the concept of this business and became trained in metal refinishing and patina finishes.
Known for providing exceptional service and extraordinary results, KC Restoration specializes in metal refinishing, coatings, escalator cleaning, stone polishing and wood restoration. “We restore most hard surfaces in Class A commercial buildings, including scratch removal and refinishing metal; patching and polishing stone; repairing and refinishing wood accent pieces. We offer maintenance contracts on metal, stone and wood, which keep buildings looking new with impressive interiors that help them attract clients and customers,” said LeAnn.
They can also add customized finishes to new metal surfaces. While years ago their clients were predominately commercial, currently they are receiving much work from designers and architects who are utilizing custom finishes on metal focal points, such as walls, cooktop hoods, and lighting fixtures in residential interiors.
A strong partner with KC Restoration, Gieske will build a metal product for a client, such as a fireplace front, and KC Restoration will then apply the metal (patina) finish. Describing their use of patina finishes, LeAnn noted that what remains unique to their methods is that they can provide color changes, as well as texture changes, and their technicians are highly-trained in many forms of this craft, from industrial, copper and rub-oiled bronze. “We also are one of a few in the country who can add a patina finish to hot or cold rolled steel, which is a hot trend right now.”
Their tireless efforts and attention to detail have led them to be known as the metro area’s premier metal refinisher, treating every project as if it was one of their own.
Bill and LeAnn make an excellent team, with Bill standing as the expert in patina finishes, as well as tending to the training of the staff and to all sales endeavors. LeAnn is in charge of the business side of the equation, making finance, marketing, human resources, and administration decisions.
Among their many clients are Hallmark, Burns & McDonnell, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, MC Realty Group, Kessinger/Hunter, CBRE, Otis, J.E. Dunn Construction and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Other clients with whom both companies collaborate include American Century Investments where KC Restoration provides all of the finishing on the elevator doors fabricated by Gieske and also the fascia panels for the ovens at SPIN! Pizza.
As a for-profit business, KC Restoration does not take its successes for granted and to that end continually gives back to the community in countless ways. In addition to its mission of providing an income and benefits for its employees, the company has donated to a cornucopia of worthy causes, including the Wounded Warrior Project, the Fisher House, and Companions for Heroes. Recently they donated their services to restore the plaques of Medal of Honor recipients at the Emporia Veterans’ Memorial and added a patina finish to decorative wings for a statue at the Ronald McDonald House in North Carolina.
“Bill and LeAnn are great people,” noted Isackson. “They run an honest company and provide outstanding service. And Bill shows up at our offices every Friday like it’s pay day. We joke about that, as he is so consistent and deals regularly with our sales staff. He is very respected and well-liked. I can confidently refer anyone who wants a great patina finish on anything to call Bill.”
Bill feels the same appreciation, “I’m grateful to be able to have a partner I can trust, week in and week out, as Gieske reliably does high quality work and values relationships as much as we do. They are well respected in the community and we appreciate them spreading the word about us.” LeAnn adds, “Gieske has a reputation for quality work and we value the working relationship and friendship we have with them.”