By Ed Trim
Sometimes when I get quiet and still, I can’t help but think back to the early days of Pennington & Trim and just smile. As I look back at our humble beginnings, it is so easy to see that God was all over it.
A MAN’S HOME IS HIS CASTLE…AND SOMETIMES HIS OFFICE
In the first year of the business, I worked out of my house. My storage room was my stock room. The house was about 1,200 square feet, so you can only imagine how small my storage room was. I also used my home phone number as our business number, and I worked out of my personal truck.
MY FIRST OFFICE
One day in 1988, I went on a sales appointment to Southern Electric Corporation in Flowood. Their company at that time had three owners and one employee. As I look back, it’s easy to see that God was all over that first meeting with those guys. I managed to sell them a security system, but they also agreed to lease me a small 10 x 10 corner room for an office. It didn’t have any windows, so I called it “The Dungeon”. I’ll always appreciate those guys for allowing me to have my first real office.
Not long after SEC leased me the office, they also made a deal with me to roll my phones into their receptionist, Ann. We shared a receptionist until I grew large enough to have someone in my own office who could answer the phone. It was so nice having Ann answer my phone with, “Pennington & Trim Alarms”! It sounded so professional, and honestly made me feel more professional than the old answering machine.
MY FIRST EMPLOYEE
In 1989, I hired my first technician. This was big at the time. Now, I was able to do post wires without subcontracting a helper for the day. It also meant I didn’t have to climb through scorching attics as much. The biggest thing was now I could be on one job site or on a sales appointment while my technician was on another job site. It enabled our production to go up.
HOME BUILDERS ASSOCIATION
In 1989, I also joined the Home Builders Association of Jackson. A builder that was building a house in North Bay subdivision said the only way I could do his work was if I was a member, so I joined. I had no idea what that would eventually do for our business. Meeting people and networking has always come easy to me. I started attending the meetings the second Thursday of every month. Month after month I met new builders. I also met a lot of associate members, and they would introduce me to new builders as well as wanting work done at their own homes or offices. Work was coming in faster than we could keep up.
SHORT ORDER COOK
I felt busier than a short order cook at a busy restaurant during lunch hour. It wasn’t uncommon to work 12 to 14 hour days, six days a week.The days of having to go out and look for work appeared to be over. The more builders I met and the more associate members I met, the more my phone just rang off the wall.
WE GREW TO SIX
As I look back at how fast the business took off, I’m just amazed! From a one-man wrecking crew to having six on payroll was more than I could have dreamed. I remember at one point I made the guys come in at 6am to get an early start and beat the heat. Some of them weren’t quite as enthusiastic as I was. I used to make them stand in a circle with their hands in the middle and yell “roooooooooll blue!” I wish you could’ve seen some of the looks I got for that. As I reminisce, I guess that was a little crazy at 6 am in the morning.
THE WHOLE BUILDING
By 1991, SEC had built a brand new building next door. They were growing extremely fast. They leased us the whole building! Now I had offices, a stock room and a place to call my own. My wife, Dana, left her job downtown to become our first full-time secretary. We eventually bought the building and the land in front of it. We continued to grow at a rapid pace hiring more secretaries and more technicians. In 1997, we built our brand new office building on that land, and that’s still where we are to this day. We now have over 15,000 customers and 20 people on payroll, but I can’t help but remember those early days. Looking back on that first meeting with SEC, that decision to join Home Builders and many other things that happened, it’s easy to see God was all over this company. After almost 27 years, I’m so thankful for our humble beginnings…especially those early days.