The History of H.R. Drake Painting LLC
By Steve Drake
H.R. Drake Painting Co. was started in 1953 by my recently retired father, Howard Ralph Drake. He met and married Betty June Roberts in 1949, gave birth to myself in 1951 and the rest is history. Well kind of.
When WWII ended, my father left the Navy and moved here from Minnesota. His parents, 2 brothers and 2 sisters soon followed. He went to night school to learn the trade and worked days with his brothers and other relatives. Frustration told him to start his own business, so in 1953, he did. For most of the first 25 years, he concentrated on new construction. Watching Bellevue grow became a fun pastime. When new construction slowed down, we went into repaints and that's where we are today.
I said "we" in the last paragraph, because at the young age of 13, I began my on the job training. The next three summer vacations were spent continuing said training. When I graduated from Ingraham High School, in 1969, I became a full time employee. (I think my dad had a dream that someday it would be Drake and Sons.) It was my turn to work with uncles, cousins and neighbors. In 1991, he decided he'd had enough and put everything in my name. He stayed on to manage things until January of 2001. Looking 75 years of age in the face may have contributed a little to this decision, but it was the right one, no matter how he got there!
If I could remember everyone we'd ever worked for, the list would read like a Who's Who of this area. We've been very fortunate to keep pretty busy year round and we owe that success to our customers. They do our advertising for us. My motto is, "Without YOU, There's No Us!" and I mean that. We rely solely on word of mouth advertising. No big billboards, flashy Yellow Pages ad or yard signs. Our customers believe in us and continue to tell their family and friends. As far as I know, there's only one way to get that kind of advertising and that's to earn it.
My son is now out of high school and working with me. He's been getting the same on the job training that I got and has said he thinks we make a good team. If all goes well, maybe someday I'll get to pass the business on to him!
By now, you're probably wondering why in the beginning it was H.R. Drake Painting Co., but now it's LLC? There are some tax advantages to doing this and those in the know around me suggested I do it. Now you know the rest of the story.
dba H.R. Drake Painting LLC
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