We have been in business since 1985, when Brett VandenBrink started cleaning windows door to door during his sophomore year in college. After graduating from Western Washington University, he decided to move to Seattle in May, 1987. The business was started in an apartment in Burien. Brett mostly worked from West Seattle through Burien and Des Moines. His best friend, Matt Turcott, spent the first summer working with him.
In August, Brett fell and broke both of his arms while posing for a picture of himself nailing a sign on a telephone pole from a ladder. This was somewhat troubling to Valarie, as their wedding date was two weeks away on September 12th, 1987. The casts only went to his elbows, and the tuxedo covered them just fine in most of the pictures. The wedding went well, Matt went back to school, and Valarie came into wedded bliss with Brett while finishing her teaching degree at Central Washington University’s extension campus in Normandy Park. Valarie taught children for three years and then decided to start having babies and stay home.
Valarie kept the books and Brett worked on cleaning windows and gutters. The company purchased an IBM PC. Brett knocked on doors every workday for the first year of the business, lining up several jobs and then going back and doing the work. By the end of the first year, he had enough customers to just call them on the phone and let them know that it was time to get their windows done again. He would get on the phone at 7:00 am and call till he had enough work lined up for the day (usually an hour and a half or two). The work was a great fit for Brett, who really enjoyed serving customers and being at several homes each day.
The customer list kept growing from existing customers, referrals, and advertising. In just a few years, it was clear that there was demand and Brett would be able to feed his family in this line of work. Upon hiring the third technician, Brett devoted himself to administration, dispatching, and everything but doing the actual cleaning. Brett really enjoyed employing people. He strove to create a company culture that honored his employees and provided an outstanding value and service to the public. At this time, the office was in Brett’s garage, and the employees were dispatched from their home directly to jobsites and back.
A close friend, Philip Carmichael, (Microsoft) is particularly helpful at keeping Brett informed of the latest technology to assist in building the business. The business continues to operate today with the help of several administrative staff working out of their Kirkland headquarters. The service area is the greater Seattle area including the I-5 corridor from Everett to Olympia and the Portland / Vancouver area.
Brett is the third generation of business operators in his family. Grandparents, Hendrik and Gertrude van den Brink emigrated from Holland and operated a grocery store/gas station in the Yakima Valley from 1924 – 1947. Brett’s father, Joe VandenBrink was a self employed mechanic who repaired farm equipment with his brother Henry from 1946 – 1988. Brett hopes to continue the legacy of offering a lifetime of diligent service to his community.