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Today Ted speaks with Dave Johnson, the third-generation owner of Johnson Brothers Appliances based in Bend, Oregon.

In 1950, Dave’s grandparents, Vernon and Charcelene, founded a home appliances store as an extension of Vern’s general contracting business. As the population of Central Oregon grew over the years, Johnson Brothers soon became known for their product expertise and personalized service to local home builders.

In 2000, Vern’s son Bob became General Manager of the business while his daughter Charcie oversaw the accounting functions and human resources. Bob passed away in 2015, and his son Dave took over the family business.

Listen in as Dave reflects on the ins-and-outs of managing a business that was started by his grandfather 71 years ago and how the housing market, design trends, and client expectations have evolved over that time.

Topics Discussed

  • [05:04] What serving in the military did for Dave’s mindset
  • [09:55] Dave’s approach to training his team at Johnson Brothers
  • [12:04] Why Dave’s grandfather decided to start Johnson Brothers in 1950
  • [23:17] Inheriting his grandfather and father’s business
  • [28:21] Starting work at the store part-time at age 6
  • [31:13] What Dave is most excited about right now regarding the business
  • [33:07] How client expectations have changed since Dave’s grandfather ran the business
  • [38:04] The evolution of the galley kitchen
  • [40:07] How Dave’s own home design was inspired by his work
  • [44:35] Current trends among prospective homeowners
  • [49:11] Projects that Dave is excited about
  • [51:26] Should two or three washer-dryers be commonplace in today’s homes?
  • [52:42] Inspiration from other properties
  • [56:36] Did Dave ever expect to be as successful as he is now?

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Key Quotes from Episode

  • Training is important in really developing the culture of our team in how we interface with our customers, the builders, and the homeowners.
  • With our history and our legacy—being here 71 years—that history is just taking care of people and solving their challenges. As I look to the future, I’m excited about continuing to do that. One of our current challenges is: How do you maintain that one-on-one customer service and problem-solving ability as you grow?
  • Trend-wise, we’ve seen—whether it’s a 2000-square-foot house or larger—focusing on: “How do we make our home more of a retreat—more comfortable?”

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