By Larry Zack
A Brief History of Fresh Paint
When it was announced that the company was to be sold, I felt my chances to stay were better at the main office. I was able to get my job back in the factory and came home. The company was sold to a competitor called HAKO Minuteman based out of Chicago, Illinois.
This was probably the turning point in my life. The new company also sold internationally, so they pulled me into the office to continue doing what I had done in Florida. This also gave me the chance to connect with the new president, out of Chicago, who for some reason took me under his wing and became my mentor. Having someone like him taught me the value of hard work, business skills, and drive. After a series of promotions into various departments of the company and ten years, I was named General Manager of the Minnesota division, a position I held for the next seven years.
Around the mid-nineties, I made a friend who had started Fresh Paint in 1985. For ten years he ran it as a small, residential, seasonal painting company. He would close up in late fall and reopen in the spring. After many nights of cocktails and conversation, he decided he didn’t want to do it anymore. So on January 1, 1996, I bought the company.
Telling my boss I was leaving was one of the most difficult parts of the entire process. I was asked by my company to stay on for a minimum of three months while the transition was made, so along with that, I was faced with getting Fresh Paint up and going with virtually no experience in the business. What did I get with the purchase of Fresh Paint? There were a few bent ladders, a couple of busted sprayers, a computer with no operating system and five employees planning on coming back in the spring. One of the first things I did was move the company focus from residential to commercial, as the late 90’s were a booming time.
It has now been 20 years since I’ve been here. We’ve worked our way through a number of location changes, a couple of recessions, and many tough times. Surprisingly enough, I still love the company and hope I can guide it successfully into the next generation.