Carrie Rengers

Dawson Monument Co. to open in Commerce Street arts district

A longtime Kansas company’s first Wichita store will be the latest business to open near Intrust Bank Arena.

Winfield-based Dawson Monument Co., which calls itself a memorial arts studio, will open this summer in 750 square feet at 400 S. Commerce, which is to the west of RSA Marketing’s new location across from the arena.

“We’re kind of there in the arts section,” says Steve Parks, president and CEO, of the Commerce Street arts district. “We just thought that would be nice to get our name out that way.”

He says the company started in Winfield in 1880 and also has stores in Arkansas City and Wellington.

“We do different specialty items,” Parks says.

That includes hand-drawn images and laser-etched graphics on granite in addition to identical reproductions of photos of people or animals. Parks says the company is well-known for deep-shape carving. It also makes urns, urn vaults and bronze markers.

In addition to its memorial work, Dawson Monument also creates granite benches and limestone rocks with people’s names or hobbies for their yards.

The company does its own concrete and foundation work.

“We work well with all the cemeteries,” Parks says.

He says Dawson Monument’s business in places such as Derby, Mulvane, Augusta and Haysville has been increasing.

“We’re doing business there quite a bit now,” he says. “We were just wanting to make it more convenient to our customers.”

Though the new space is small, Parks says, “It’ll be enough for what we’re going to do.”

There will be several monuments and urns on display.

Parks says the site is easily accessible, which he says is important to the company.

“We liked it because it’s a corner location.”

Krista Lowry of J.P. Weigand & Sons handled the deal.

Parks says he hopes Dawson Monument can do more work to help Wichitans as well.

“All my staff really cares for people, and we go over that often,” he says. “All of us work very hard to make that happen.”

Parks says Dawson Monument’s work is “going to be out there forever … and we want them to be very happy.”

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or Follow her on Twitter: @CarrieRengers.