He may not have had much money at the time, but a strong business sense helped Dennis McKean start a company that has flourished for nearly six decades.
McKean, founder of McKean’s Floor to Ceiling in La Vista, died Aug. 1. He was 83.
With about $100 in his bank account, McKean decided to open his own floor covering business in Ralston in 1962.
“We found pictures of the actual checkbook,” said Dave McKean, the youngest of three children. “I think the businessman in him saw that this was the path he should take.”
Daughter Dennise McKean, the oldest of the siblings, recalls the early days of the business.
“I remember coming down for breakfast and there would be my dad and the one employee he had,” she said. “He worked out of our home the first few years.”
McKean moved his business to several locations throughout Ralston over the next 35 years before eventually relocating to the current location at 10811 Harrison St. in La Vista.
Darren McKean recalled his father being a tireless worker who made sure his family was taken care of.
“Dad was a great provider,” Darren said. “He may not have always been around, but we understood that because of the dedication he had to his business.”
But he still found time to make sure his children had plenty of entertainment at their disposal.
“We had lots of stuff growing up like mini-bikes and a cabin,” Dennise said. “I remember Dad going to the vacant lot next to our house and building an ice skating area for us.”
All three siblings eventually joined the family business and remain there today. They are joined by three of Dennis’ grandchildren to create a true family atmosphere in the office.
“When we first started working here, I think our youth and vigor tried to push dad into being a little tougher on people because he was such a nice guy,” Darren said. “But dad never changed. He just wanted people to do the best they could and if something was going to be a little late, he would work around it.”
It was that sense of how to not only handle a business, but to handle people, that has rubbed off on the family over the years.
“Dad bred us into businessmen,” Dave said. “He showed us how things were done.”
As nice as he was, there were times the children were made aware that he still could be a hard-nosed businessman.
“If he invited you on a ride during business hours, you knew you were going to get a talking to,” Darren said. “At home, he never raised his voice. He always had that respect that he never needed to yell.”
Dennis retired from the business in 2010, allowing him and his wife, Donna, to travel more and spend their winters in Arizona. It also permitted Dennis to shift his focus to caring for dogs instead of a business as he was active in rescuing Airedale dogs.
“There were lots of dogs around the house over the years,” Dave said. “I’d be talking to him and he would tell me he was heading down to Kansas City to pick up a dog and bring it back.”
Dennis and Donna later moved to Papillion and were charter members of Overland Hills Baptist Church, where he also served as a board member.
Whether it was with the business, at home or in the community, Dennis lived a life making an impact on others.
“He had business competitors show up at his visitation,” Dave said. “I can’t even fathom how many times I heard somebody say how great of a man he was.”
McKean is survived by his wife of 63 years, Donna, his three children: Dennise; Darren (Becky) and Dave (Lorri); four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.