There are many stories that can be shared about my grandfather, Frank Chown. How he spent his time making deliveries around Portland in the fire engine red delivery truck, simultaneously courting my grandmother Eleanor. “My most fond recollections of driving the truck were when I was courting Eleanor and she rode with me. We had met at Oregon State, but she spent her summers at her family home in California. Since we were apart all summer, I probably would have even courted her in a garbage truck and gotten away with it.”
Or how he displayed his lockpicking skill to classmates at Fernwood Elementary until he was caught. “I could open almost all the lockers, including the combination locks mainly because the kids only turned the dial enough to hold it, but not really lock it. I guess I thought I was really something and I must have bragged to a few to many friends, because one day I found myself in the principal’s office turning over my pick keys. That ended the fun.”
What truly stands out to me, more than any of the stories, is how grandpa cared for others. This wasn’t something he just said, it was a way of life and is still at the epicenter of the business. During the 100th anniversary someone asked him why they have made it when other companies haven’t. “There are probably many reasons, but the most important one is this: we have always cared, about our customer, our suppliers, our community, and each other.”
Forty years later that statement still rings loud and true. People make Chown. You make Chown. A customer or a vendor may initially shop with us because of the product we carry but a return client is solidified because of the people we hire and how we treat one another. I believe word of mouth is still the most powerful form of marketing. What we value and how we broadcast and share that value is worth more than the product on our shelves. I am honored to serve you and will continue to listen to the words of my grandfather, working hard to make Chown the best company to work for.
-Kyle Chown, President