What: Davis Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year luncheon
When: 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Odd Fellows Hall, 415 Second St.
Tickets: $18 for Chamber members and $25 for nonmembers; must be purchased by noon Friday. Visit http://www.davischamber.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call (530) 756-5160 or stop by the office at 604 Third St. in downtown Davis
The part time-work Jeremy Brooks did to pay his way through college led to the founding of a company that’s now being honored as Business of the Year by the Davis Chamber of Commerce.
“I painted my way through school, working for other people,” said Brooks, who graduated from UC Davis in 1996, with a degree in human development. “Once I got done with school, I started my own business. I enjoy working with people and making their properties, businesses and homes look better.”
Brooks has translated that enjoyment into a company that’s being honored as “an incredible asset to our community,” said Mark Rutheiser, past president of the Chamber of Commerce and a local businessman.
“With its customer service, employee satisfaction, philanthropic activities, cutting-edge marketing and overall success, it is the model recipient of this year’s Business of the Year Award,” Rutheiser continued.
A panel of past Chamber presidents selects the winner based on the business’ demonstration of creativity and innovation, socially responsible business practices, commitment to the support and promotion of the community, excellent customer service and overall ethical practices.
Said Brooks, “Receiving this award is quite an honor for all of us at Brooks Painting. To me, it means that my peers think highly of not just our painting skills but our community involvement.
“I have tried to teach our employees to give back to others and to think beyond themselves,” he continued. “This award shows them it doesn’t go unnoticed. We have great employees, and without them, Brooks Painting would not be what it is.”
The annual Charity Paint is an example of what Brooks gives back. Each year, the company donates up to $10,000 in time and painting services to a local person, family or charitable organization in need. Nominations are made by community members, finalists are chosen by the company and community members’ votes choose the winning recipient.
An entire weekend is devoted to the preparation and painting of the winner’s building. Past winners have been Davis Little League, the Sharp family and the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center of Yolo County. Nominees for this year’s projects are due by May 31; visit http://www.brookspainting.com.
Brooks founded Brooks Painting in 1997, the year after he graduated from UC Davis. What began as a start-up launched by a 20-something with a new diploma has grown into a company that employs 16 people, and does jobs throughout the Sacramento region — and sometimes beyond.
“We’ve painted at every one of the Nugget grocery stores,” Brooks said. “We did their Roseville, El Dorado Hills and Elk Grove stores when they were built. And we’ve done repainting in all the others.
“But about 65 percent of our work is residential,” Brooks said. “Another 25 percent or so is doing remodels or new construction. And about 10 percent is commercial.”
For a painting company, being based in a place like Davis offers a number of advantages as compared to places like the upper Midwest, where the temperature goes below freezing for weeks at a time.
“We are fortunate in that we can paint pretty much year-round,” Brooks said. “Most of the paints we use can cure down to 36 degrees Fahrenheit. So we can do some work even in December or January, if it isn’t raining.”
He added that these days, he’s ordering more colors than he did back in the ‘90s.
“These last four years, there are definitely more people trending toward trying brighter colors, though the earth tones are still the most popular. But a lot of people are willing to venture on color.”
This week, among Brooks Painting’s projects is a 14-year-old home in West Davis. The builder had selected an earth tone/pastel at the time the house was built, but the current owner opted for a shade of green.
“We’ll do color consults if the customer wants us to help them with the direction of where they want to go,” Brooks said.
He added that in a climate like this one — with long, hot summers with intense sunlight — “we generally tell people that they should paint the exterior every eight to 10 years. Of course, a wood-sided home would be on the lower side of that figure, and a stucco home can last longer than that.
“The type of building materials in the home affects things significantly. And the quality of the paint is important, too.”
In addition to painting, the company also does small repairs (replacing trim, fixing drywall, minor stucco and dry-rot repair), cabinet refinishing, acoustic ceiling removal and repair, deck and fence staining/painting, window cleaning, wallpaper removal, gutter cleaning, weatherizing and other painting-related tasks.
— Reach Jeff Hudson at email@example.com or (530) 747-8055.
Past winners of the Business of the Year award:
Carbahal & Company, 2009
Fleet Feet Sports, Davis, 2008
Davis Ace Hardware, 2007
First Northern Bank, 2006
University Honda, 2005
Coldwell Banker-Doug Arnold Real Estate, 2004
Nugget Markets, 2003
The Davis Enterprise, 2002
Pyramid Construction, 2001
Davis Waste Removal, 2000
Novo Nordisk Biotech, 1999
Mortgage Resource Network, 1998
Cunningham Engineering, 1997