DOON, a N’West Iowa company that has grown since its inception 25 years ago, recently moved to a new store offering more space for vehicles and equipment needed to meet the needs of an expanding septic and sewer service customer base.
LeLoux Diversified South of Dong, owned by Evan and Ronda LeLou, started operating the new store just a couple of months ago.
The company was founded in 1998 when Evan worked for Doon Plumbing. At that time, he purchased wastewater treatment equipment and eventually went into business on his own two years later.
He started doing plumbing work in addition to cleaning the drains. Working out of his home garage, Evan had little room for equipment.
In 2008, he built a new barn at his home on Garfield Avenue.
As the years went by, the addition of service vehicles and more equipment meant the business needed even more space as its customer base grew. The new building was completed two months ago, allowing him to move the family business from his residence to the new store.
“It’s nice to have a dedicated space to do business,” Evan said. “Otherwise, you’ll find yourself working late when your office is at your home.”
The store itself is used solely for storage and parking of equipment.
Earlier in his career, Evan said he had to heat his trailers, which were more exposed to the weather, whereas today that’s not a problem with six-bay storage.
Evan grew up in Rock Valley and attended Rock Valley Christian School. Rhonda grew up near Inwood. They met in Rock Valley in 1989 and married two years later. The couple have five sons, Jonathan, Ryan, Jarod, Jacob and Davis, who range in age from 30 to 19. Jonathan, Ryan and Jarod work in the family business.
Evan’s father introduced him to the sewer cleaning business when he was young when Evan tagged his father’s job.
“The seed has been sown,” he said. “I only started my own business 20 years later, but I was familiar with it.”
When LeLoux Diversified started, Evan said he had a radius of about 10 miles and now has customers 45 miles away.
“Thanks to the chain of events and the doors that have opened, we are grateful that we were able to add services to our business,” said Ronda.
When the business started, most of the clients were residential or small commercial. Over the past 20 years, as their sons came to work in the business and received additional equipment, the customer base has expanded to include larger commercial as well as agricultural jobs.
Today, a couple of employees are involved in residential work, and a couple more are handling commercial and agricultural service requests. They are all fully licensed and certified in the work they do.
“We have equipment that can handle opening pipes of any diameter, from inch to 24” lines, road culverts, field slabs and sump lines,” Evan said.
The bread and butter of their business is mostly resident clients who have been with them for 20 years or more.
“Every day is different,” Evan said. “Diagnostic problems can be interesting.”
“The biggest reward is helping people and meeting new people almost every day,” said Ronda. “Then it will be a variety of work that comes with every day.”
When asked if they see an opportunity to expand their business in a new direction in the future, Evan and Rhonda gave a calculated answer.
“We don’t see him changing direction, but we keep our minds open and keep up with the latest technology,” Evan said. “So, when opportunities present themselves, we are ready.”
The couple hope that in time their sons will take over and continue the business.
“If we are blessed with good health in our final years, perhaps we can work for them,” Evan said.