With life-long ties to the community, Devon Sawka and Garrett Frost have established Renegade Plumbing and Heating in Canora, a business they say will grow as residents become familiar with their work.
The business was set up in October, but it wasn’t until January that the partners, both journeyman plumbers, began to advertise and actively seek out clients.
“We’re both Red Seal journeymen,” which means their qualifications are recognized across Canada (less Quebec), said Sawka. “When customers call, they can be guaranteed that a journeyman will be in their homes, doing the work,” not an apprentice or a labourer.
Sawka has been a journeyman plumber for 14 years, including the last 10 in Saskatoon where he was employed by one of the largest plumbing-and-heating businesses in the province. He and his wife, Chantelle, wanted their three-year-old son Maddix to have the same benefits as he did, growing up in Canora.
When he arrived, he began discussing setting up their own business with his brother-in-law, Garrett Frost, who just received his journeyman’s ticket last summer.
Plumbing in a small town is a dying profession, said Sawka. Most journeymen would rather work for wages in a city then set up their own business.
Garrett and his wife, Amber, have a 19-month-old daughter Lilly and they too have purchased a house in Canora with the intention of raising their child in a small town.
Being able to offer the service locally means that customers will not be charged mileage, he said. That cost can be significant when hiring someone from Yorkton.
Renegade Plumbing, which is named in honour of the former Canora senior hockey team, is available for all plumbing jobs, from leaking taps to new construction. Sawka is certified to design new systems. One of the major needs thus far has been to clean drain systems and “we have the biggest roto-rooter in town,” he said.
The business demand thus far has been good and both are very happy that the people of the area are willing to give them a chance to prove themselves. They are grateful the people are giving them a chance and they hope to have the business develop beyond having an office in Sawka’s house and working out of the truck.
With any luck, they hope to expand which will mean that they will be able to hire locally and give some local workers the opportunity to apprentice.
They already have many contacts for parts and equipment suppliers to ensure they can offer their customers parts and equipment at fair prices. They are also making inroads with a number of equipment suppliers that they will be the exclusive installers of some premium heating systems.
“We do the work ourselves and guarantee the service,” said Sawka.