Cherry Painting Company
The Cherry family has been in the painting business for three generations. Ed Cherry started a small residential painting company, Ed Cherry and Son’s Painting, in the 1940s, where his sons, Patrick and William, worked through their adolescence. Patrick went off to fight in Vietnam in the 1960s and William stayed to continue Ed Cherry and Son’s Painting. When Pat returned, he joined the team, but later began to work with a local commercial contractor.
Sitting on top of a five-story building and eating lunch, he told friend and coworker, Bobby Wood, ‘I’ll be the largest paint contractor in Dallas one day.’ Bobby laughed and the two finished their sandwiches and got back to work. Little did he know, a few decades later that goal would be realized.
Patrick’s window of opportunity opened up when his employer passed away. Patrick went to the general contractors he had been working with and asked for permission to complete the company’s contracts; all agreed, and Patrick and William opened Cherry Painting Company (CPC) in 1968.
Zack Cherry, Patrick’s son and current president of CPC, now manages the business alongside his brother Rocky and father, who serve as vice presidents. Zack began working at CPC as a helper in eighth grade and joined the company full-time in 2004 after graduating from college. Rocky also worked for the family business through high school, but spent several years as a minor and major league baseball player. He worked on and off at CPC between seasons and after his release from the Boston Red Sox in 2009, Rocky joined the business full-time.
Grossing more than $17 million in 2013, CPC is now Dallas’ largest commercial painting contractor while doing work in Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and Oklahoma City. The company has an office in Austin, Texas, that employs three project managers and estimators and over 85 painters.
“Austin is a market that we want to be in as long as the company is around,” states Zack. “Austin is an integral part of the company for our diversity and growth. As we continue to establish our presence in Austin, we plan to open an office in San Antonio and possibly Oklahoma City to help with our growth.”
Making, and keeping, a good name
“We emulate a board of directors,” Rocky details. “We talk out all decisions together and sometimes we are not all on the same page; but in the end, the process is beneficial.”
The family takes business seriously, placing high value on decision-making and customer satisfaction; the Cherry men are not in the business for only the money. Zack says, for him and his brother, the greatest sense of pride comes through upholding the family name.
“Our dad and uncle built a baseline of what this company represents,” Zack explains. “Our job is to uphold that standard and even improve on it. We want to treat our employees fair and enjoy the success with us. When we see our employees’ success, it is satisfying. That is what gets us up every morning; to work not only for our families, but for our employees’ families.”
The business has changed significantly over the years. Despite massive growth both internally and externally, a few things remain the same. CPC is a solution-driven business, meaning the Cherry family is not happy until the company’s customers are happy. Zack, Rocky and Patrick stand by the idea that the best way to make customers happy is to exceed performance expectations.
“Each member of our team has earned his or her position,” Rocky states. “Building a strong team has taken years of hard work; constant training and field experience help CPC’s management staff, estimators and project managers and now they have proven themselves up to the task time and again.”
Since Zack and Rocky joined the business, the company has continued to grow steadily. The brothers bought out their uncle William in 2009. “We were pleased to maintain growth with the retirement of our uncle; he was such an integral part of the foundation of this company,” Zack says. “Now that we have continued to hire talented personnel, our growth has been steadily pointing north. Although we have had the opportunity to grow faster, we have chosen to grow properly. That sets us apart; we don’t overextend our resources; we bid what we can get to; we take care of our customers. That is what ultimately keeps us successful.”
Taking care of business
An owner of the company is involved in every project from bidding to completion. The Cherry family believes in hands-on management, but not micro-managing, as well as keeping open lines of communication between all levels of employment. “We trust our employees with every decision they make, but I feel the benefit of decisions being discussed by more than one person results in a higher, more sustained level of success in all aspects of business,” Zack details. Clients seem to reap the benefits from this consistent approach and call upon CPC on important projects.
CPC also runs projects differently than other contractors. While most painting businesses have separate estimating and project management departments, CPC’s professionals take a project from start to finish, completely. “A project manager, who has also estimated the work, knows it better and can service it better, whether answering questions or making changes,” Rocky continues. “Nothing falls through the cracks.”
Through an efficient and well-communicated process, CPC has taken on several large and unique projects in recent years. The company’s portfolio spans a wide range of commercial facilities. The team has worked in health care, education, entertainment venues, hotels and office buildings throughout Texas and Oklahoma with growing markets in both Dallas and Austin.
One of the more memorable projects the brothers recall is the Wyly Theater in Dallas. “This job was unique, because of the world renowned architects involved,” Rocky says. “People would visit this building from around the world admiring the unique design of no structural supports within the center of the building.” There were several challenging decisions, because of the design, that resulted in a beautiful finish out.
Other recent work includes the WinStar World Casino and Resort. CPC performed painting in the resort’s hotel towers, as well as lobbies and casino floors. Scope of work included high-end finishes, such as metallic coatings, glitter glaze paint and specialty wall coverings.
“This is a Vegas-style casino – they want the best of the best,” Rocky elaborates. “We used glitter glaze throughout the gaming area, which went up high walls throughout the corridors. Another unique feature was a wood veneer wall covering. We wrapped drywall beams to make it look like real wood beams. It’s a really nice look and design and no one would ever know it is not real. We also did the entire interior lobby and restaurant with metallic coatings on walls, ceilings and latticework. With all the different colors it is difficult to create smooth transitions without showing brush marks or change in direction. The space turned out phenomenal although this was a very difficult project.”
The crew also recently completed work on Baylor Hospital, a leading cancer research facility in the United States. “For the most part, we are proud to be a part of a very important hospital that helps people,” Zack says. “This was a difficult project due to the size and time constraint. Hospitals are always difficult to finish out and this one turned out great. There is generally a lot of coordination involved between trades, so we have to plan logistics correctly.”
CPC has grown each year and looks to continue that trend in 2014 and 2015. “Growth is not something that we strive for,” Zack says. “Our saying is ‘bigger isn’t better.’ But we have hired two new project managers in Austin and two in Dallas to help keep up with our customers’ needs.”
With the freedom that the new hires have given the Cherry brothers, Zack and Rocky are able to do more business planning and test the waters in other trades that are closely related to CPC’s core business model. “We see an opportunity with plaster, at a low volume,” Rocky adds. “When we hired Mike Pittman, former vice president of Triangle Plaster, we wanted to utilize his strengths for painting, but also his plaster knowledge. Also, intumescent coatings are a very attractive business that suites us well.”
With the Cherry family at the helm, Cherry Painting Company continues to search for smart growth, great customer service and employee satisfaction.
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