Photo: Brad and Jayna Hammack, owners of SERVPRO of Lufkin/S. Nacogdoches County, standing outside of their current Nacogdoches warehouse and office location.
(Photo by Kelly Daniel)
SERVPRO® of Lufkin/S. Nacogdoches County named Small Business of the Year
by Kelly Daniel
The company slogan may be "like it never even happened," but Nacogdoches residents and businesses have seen a large number of good things happening since Brad and Jayna Hammack opened SERVPRO® of Lufkin/S. Nacogdoches County.
The Hammacks were introduced to the company through a relative, and their shared entrepreneurial spirit was sparked. At that time, the couple was living in Rowlett. After evaluating options and asking for advise from those that understood the commitment and responsibilities, the Hammacks knew this was the business opportunity they wanted to bring to East Texas. The couple had only been married about five years and were searching for a way to get back to Nacogdoches, where Brad's family roots are, and also home to his alma mater Stephen F. Austin State University where he earned a masters degree in accounting.
In September 2006, they were ready to make the investment.
"We cashed out and sold our house to make this happen," Brad said. "We signed the papers for the closing as we were headed to the airport to fly to Tennessee for the two-week training. We came back and that November, we opened the doors. Once the decision was made to do this, it was a whirlwind for us."
The couple found affordable warehouse space at 114 Muller Street. Because their house had sold, most all they owned had been moved to that site. The warehouse became their central hub with Jayna handling marketing and office management while Brad supplied his financial expertise and oversaw production.
One of the first jobs came from a local apartment complex. It proved to be an experience that defined their customer service. "We worked with the manager to take care of the cleanup for the apartments, but we connected with one of the elderly residents whose personal belongings were soaked. Her daughter lived in California and was very concerned about her mother's well-being and her things," Jayna said. "The decision was made to move Mom to California, and we took charge of her personal items that had water damage."
The Hammacks used the warehouse space to dry, restore and protect the belongings ranging from photos to furniture. They prepared a pallet for shipping, and it all made the trip to California safely. Later, the daughter wrote a letter to the SERVPRO CEO Susan Steen to express her gratitude for the above-and-beyond level of service. Steen in turn wrote to the Hammacks to share the praise. Both letters are now framed and hanging on the SERVPRO office wall as a reminder of the people that are affected by the circumstances, beyond the things and structures that are cleaned and restored. Later, at the 2007 SERVPRO annual conference, in a room with hundreds of other franchise owners and corporate leaders, the Hammacks received special recognition for their outstanding service.
The Hammack's SERVPRO team grew quickly. A business that began with two owners and a truck now supports more than 20 full-time positions and a fleet of multi-purpose vehicles. The business leadership includes five divisions with teams that have specific responsibilities - executive, administration, sales and marketing, reconstruction, and production.
Keeping their franchise certified for and active in disaster relief efforts has been a priority since the beginning. The team has traveled to help with restoration in Maryland in 2011; after Hurricane Sandy hit New York in 2012; and recently, the floods in Kansas City, Missouri, and now Hurricane Harvey. The team regularly works in 13 East Texas counties, as well as all major Texas cities. They have travelled across the nation from Arizona to Minnesota, Colorado to Alabama, just to name a few states.
"We are ready to go at any time, and our employees are willing to travel. They like to go!" Brad said. He and Jayna have found themselves "on the truck" headed out and staying behind to wrap up jobs so employees could make it back for holidays with family.
Brad and Jayna uphold an environment where all treat each other with mutual respect, and they work to inspire their teammates and to have the tools to reach set goals. "We got it started," Jayna said, "but we were able to continue by hiring more to join us. We credit our success to the ability to hire high-quality employees, and we invest in them with continuous training, because our goal is to be the best. We can't do that without our community and our employees."
The Hammacks are inspired by the late Ted Isaacson, founder of Servpro Industries. "He built a faith based company with strong values, and he changed family trees through his business," Jayna said. "We are little piece of a big pie, and we want to continue what he created through our franchise."
The desire to contribute to community improvement and development has SERVPRO involved in Future Farmers of America and 4-H clubs. School children are enjoying fun and functional benefits. "SERVPRO adopted a Nacogdoches I.S.D. campus, and they throw class pizza parties and holiday parties throughout the year. They have donated coats, backpacks and school supplies," said N.I.S.D. staff member Amber Mims. "They are always ready to volunteer and support the district's events."
In 2011, the business expanded, opening an office that focuses on marketing and also provides another 3,000 sq. ft. of storage space.
"Our Marketing Director Patrick Castillo presented the idea to us, and it made sense to have a presence in Lufkin," Jayna said. "Patrick manages his team from that office, and handles community involvement in our territory."
Now, SERVPRO is preparing to move to a new location.
The Hammacks purchased a steel building off the Nacogdoches south loop that will triple their warehousing capabilities with climate controlled space. The transition should be completed before January 2018.
The business has earned numerous awards and recognition from the company's corporate and district levels, including the Million Dollar Club - Rolex recipients in 2013; Featured Franchise for Texas and Louisiana; 2014 Storm Team of the Year; and the franchise was ranked in the top 150 in the United States and Canada out of approximately 1,800. In 2016, they achieved the highest volume of annual sales and earned the company's Chairman's Silver Award.
In addition to these outstanding awards, the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce is proud to name SERVPRO® of Lufkin/S. Nacogdoches County as Small Business of the Year, a Gary Justice Business Excellence Award sponsored by Heritage Land Bank.
The company will be recognized at the Chamber's 96th Annual Meeting & Awards Banquet presented by The Fredonia Hotel and Convention Center. Tickets, table reservations and sponsorships with corporate recognition are available through Sept. 15. Call the Nacogdoches County Chamber at 936-560-5533 for more information.