This is my story:
A long, long time ago a friend of mine asked me the question, “who do we ultimately want to work for?” Perplexed and confused I squinted my eyes, slightly turned my head and blurted out “Disneyland?” His shoulders slumped, and he sighed and said, “No, us, we want to work for ourselves!” That was the first introduction or even an iota of a thought that I could own my own business someday. Fifteen years later found me as a small business consultant for a large business printing supply company. I would follow up leads and cold call potential clients and maintain the ones I had already started. Yup, I was an annoying phone sales guy. However, I did manage to make a few “phone” relationships with some fairly successful businessmen and women. They really weren’t much different from me, the only difference between us really was, risk, they took the “risk” to delve into their own destiny. I wasn’t a risk taker; however, my brother was. I knew what I had to do. So I started to secretly try and figure out what? With a family and two young kids it was very hard to say, yeah, the time is now. But the writing was on the wall with the current company I was working for. That ship was sinking, I had made the most money I was going to make for them in 1999. Then my annual pay decreased as goals went up, and sales went down, technology was overtaking the ink and paper industry. However, there was still a few questions I had to answer if I was going to be a risk taker.
What would I do, and when, and how would I do it?
I knew a few small business owners in Flagstaff. One of them owned a successful appliance retail store. I was telling him that I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. He then looked me in the eyes and said something I will never forget. He said, “pick something, it doesn’t matter, people like you, you’re a likable guy and they will buy from you!” I never forgot that, it really helped build my confidence. Something I had always lacked.
In the 90s, one thing I knew Flagstaff needed, was a drive-thru coffee shop. I always thought, “I would love to drive-thru a place and just get a quick hot cup of Joe. I bet it would work.” Of course, I thought you would have to sell Danishes, and rolls, and breads…as we would soon find out, that’s not true. Someone else thought of that idea and made it happen before Starbucks and Dutch Bros did. I was never great in the kitchen anyway. My wife and I also thought that Flagstaff needed and indoor training facility, like batting cages, pitching cages, a place to inline skate, play volleyball, arcade, etc… that would be massive overhead and just out of the question as a startup.
My father owned a fairly large office building in the small town I grew up in. Three of the units were below grade or basement style. As fate would have it, I was there one weekend and my dad got a call that basement level offices had flooded. We went and checked it out. I was amazed, the entire lower level was soaked. I had never seen anything like it. My dad is quite handy, so we pulled the carpet back, shop vacuumed the pad, borrowed a bunch of domestic fans and somehow dried it out. My brother was an insurance agent at the time. His office was across town for my dad’s building. Six months later my brother’s insurance office flooded. I happened to be there, again, blown away. I asked him, does this happen a lot, and is there an industry for this? He said yes, it is his most insurable event as a property and casualty agent. Also, a carpet cleaner had stopped by a few times and dropped off some business cards that said, “structural drying” and “water extraction!” Huh…… (insert light bulb here)
I went back home and got my phone book out and started researching restoration companies in my market. Wow, we had like 7 or 8. This was going to be tough. Remember, I had never owned my own business. My brother had decided to leave the insurance industry and urged me to start a restoration company. He would do the same in Gilbert, AZ. Moment of truth!
To Risk or not to Risk, that is the question.
A month later found us at Phoenix Children’s Hospital with our son Nick needing surgery. It turned out he needed two surgeries. It was one of the scariest and most stressful times of our lives. I would walk
the halls, the sidewalks and eventually the parking garage. On the top level of that parking structure, staring at the Phoenix pollution, now knowing my son would be OK. I decided right there and then that life was too short not to go for my dream.
March of 2003 was my first month in business. My wife Angela joined the business in 2013 and made us much stronger. So many years later we are one of the most recognized names in restoration in Flagstaff and northern Arizona. It has not been easy, it’s had its ups and downs, but the rewards outweigh the struggles. We recently helped our daughter start her own business (Allure Aesthetics AZ) and have applied our knowledge and lessons learned to make it a smoother start up.
We are blessed. We strive to make ourselves, our employees, and our culture better. We love our community; it is truly God’s Country. We would not have wanted to have raised our three children anywhere else. We adopted the theme of “grow yourself and grow your people” and we apply that into making Mammoth “The most trusted name in emergency service!”
Thank you to my brother Mitch, my father Tom, my in laws Jerry and Christine, our extended families, friends, clients and colleagues who have helped us to reach this level.