It has been almost a seamless transition for the new owners of Dodds Memorials, located at the intersection of Main and Keokuk Streets in Ottawa.
The business, that has been in Ottawa for decades, was recently purchased by Shawn Miller, who owns Reeble Monuments in Emporia and Iola. Miller opened a Reeble Monument store in southwest Ottawa on 23rd Street last year.
“We were really interested in growing,” Miller said. “[Dodds] has been an established business and very successful.”
Miller said the opportunity to buy Dodds was something that worked well with their other locations.
“We were southwest of town,” he said. “Our lease ended in October, we took over in September. It worked out real well. This is a plant. We have moved all the work up to Ottawa. I do all the creation of the stone in the plant. I use to do them in Emporia. It is a better setting. We did learn about the city a little bit and where everything is at. We are familiar with the town. It was an easy transition to us. This helps us get to more of the area. In this area, there is a lot of demand. There are three corners there and we are trying to attract a bunch of people and get the opportunity to do business with them.”
Miller said for the time being, the business name will remain Dodds Memorials.
They had a good name out there,” Miller said. “We will try to keep that trend going. We considered changing all our businesses to one name in general, but we decided against that for now. We have had people come in and knew of the company.”
Miller said this is a family business with his in-laws owning a store in Lebo along with his sisters and wife being heavily involved in the three locations.
“Our entire family is wrapped up in this,” Miller said. “We want [customers] to walk out of here with a smile on their face and feel like their needs were met, that we covered everything that they could possibly ask. We take pride in what we do. This is a great town. We really enjoyed the first two months we have been here.”
Miller said previous Dodds customers with outstanding orders when they took over have been taken care of.
“We were able to let them know we had it covered,” Miller said. “We made a few phone calls to make sure they knew it was our responsibility to take care of what they needed done. We are about caught up with everything they had as far as what people needed. It has been a surprise to some. They have been willing to work with us and give us a chance.”
Miller is working on getting a web site to show their different types of stones and creations.
“We are going be more active in social media,” he said. We want to grow that.”
He said they do about 25 percent of their business over the phone or via the internet.
“It is pretty easy to take care of their needs,” he said. “The only thing you could not do over the phone is see the granite in person. We are able to get them a good idea of what everything will look like with our computer programs, samples and brochures.”
He said the industry is growing and there are endless possibilities for creating that special monument.
“There are a lot of cool and creative things out there,” Miller said. “We want to make it an actual memorial, so it is a memory and not just a monument. It should be something that is there forever. When you visit the person that has passed away, you want to see something that makes you smile or feel good. That is what our goal is. We have the experience to help guide them.
“We want to put more of our creative, custom type of things that we can do on our web site and out front [of our stores].”