Piping fabricator SPS Cos. is entering the Wichita market, but not to sell pipes.
The company, which is based in a suburb of Minneapolis, has a fire protection division that manufactures and sells fire protection systems.
That’s what will be opening in 7,600 square feet at a building at 3737 W. Dora in November.
“We saw a real need in the market,” says Mark Augustson, general manager of the fire protection division.
Two years ago, SPS Cos. purchased Howells Fab, a fire sprinkler fabricator and supplier that has sites in the Minneapolis area and in Wisconsin, Iowa and Omaha.
An executive at Howells Fab had expressed interest in Wichita, so SPS looked into it. Augustson says the company found that two other companies that used to service the market had left.
“We definitely saw a gap in service and a need for somebody to fill that,” Augustson says. “It makes sense.”
The company’s customers are contractors who install fire protection products. There won’t be sales to the general public.
Augustson says only licensed contractors should be installing the products.
If not, he says, “You can end up with consequences.”
Then, if something catastrophic happens, “It gives our industry a black eye.”
Marty Moody and Mark Schroeder of J.P. Weigand & Sons and Don Arnold of John T. Arnold Associates handled the deal for the space, which Augustson says should be enough to handle some growth, too.
The company will start with two employees. Depending on how the market develops, Augustson says, expansion is a possibility.