My name is Jeff Cohen, and 33 years ago, I started One Stop Painting myself. I enjoy chatting with people, learning their stories on life, and hearing their experiences. In that spirit, here is my little story on how One Stop Painting got started!
Throughout high school, I had worked full time in restaurants: Mayflower Seafood, the 1620, The Outside Inn, The Charlie Horse, and Tassy’s as my final job. This was my career throughout school and for a few years after, until one day Tassy’s was sold and for the 1st time in my life I was left without a job. . Had you asked me at the time, I would have told you that I was going to stay cooking forever because I loved the atmosphere, and the work ethics that I had gained while working at the 162 in particular would prove to be priceless, in retrospect!
These ethics I have carried into all aspects of my life. For example, one of the owners of the 1620 placed a set of rules on the mop room door- referred to as the mop room rules: Rule number 1- clutter is our enemy! Rule number 2, a clean kitchen is a happy kitchen. It’s funny how much we joked about them, but honest to God they followed me through life, and I use the phrases almost every day. If you ask my daughter Chelsey what a clean room is, the reply is always “a happy room”. She has grown up, moved out to start a family now with her husband, and I am proud to say her house is spotless! As a child however, her room was not always happy!
A few years after high school, I was thrown a curveball. The restaurant I was working for, Tassy’s in Kingston, was sold. The first job I was able to find was painting for a gentleman we affectionately called “Moose” and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I should mention here that nobody in my family had much talent working with their hands. I remember vividly crying on my 7th birthday when my dad could not assemble my present (a pinball machine). I still look back and feel so bad that I cried that day. I seemed to take very well to working with my hands, and I had the same vigor in painting that I possessed in the restaurants.
In the kitchen, I started out washing dishes (I still jump into a loaded sink at parties to clean), and then moved to running the kitchen as sous chef/chef. I did it all from placing the orders, doing inventory, setting schedules, and making specials. I loved the pressure! Within the first few months working for Moose, I decided I wanted to start my own company. I would be the first in my family to do this, so I did not have the benefit of relatives to draw ideas from, or have a family business handed to me. I also had no money saved, and no established credit to speak of! I purchased my first company truck for $100 from a friend, when he purchased a new truck – I borrowed a few ladders to paint my first house, and off I went! I placed a line ad in a local newspaper (Old Colony Memorial) and lined up a few jobs via friends, word of mouth, and my new ad! I took the money from first job to purchase my own ladders and never looked back!
The next chapter in my life was many years of working alone, nights, weekends, and whatever I had to do. The drive to be the best gave me the motivation to expand my product knowledge and applications. Along with this new knowledge came my marketing skills, management skills, and customer and people skills. As time went by, I realized that I really loved what I was doing and this was it for me! Now another important event was happening as well. I had begun to hire painters, and I was lucky to hire in some very nice, and very good people. Some could paint, some I taught, and some taught me a few things as well. We all learned and grew together over the years. Some came, some went, and some would come back again, but the core stayed on to become my 1st foremen. We were learning, growing, adapting, and always improving our skills together. I finally got the brush out of my hand and picked up the pen full-time, which then turned to pen and key pad over time. Wasn’t it just yesterday the beeper came out? I was so happy I could be beeped; I would run to my truck and drive to a pay phone! Funny how fast times change!! We always embrace change here and try to stay ahead of it!
My little dream back in 1986 has developed a life of its own now. I always wanted to be known for my honesty, integrity, and good quality work throughout the area. I wanted to be like my peers and set an example for others to look up to, just as I had been doing to the painters already in their prime when I was just starting. I developed a logo, a fleet of trucks, a reputation of quality and honesty, and some of the best painters and friends anyone could ever hope for since then. I employ approximately 25 full time year round painters, provide them a safe work environment, the best tools and products available to us, health insurance, and a retirement package as well! Our management team has paid vacations and paid holidays. We have become known for our charitable work in the communities around us through the Jeff Cohen Charitable Foundation, and I feel we have become model corporate citizens.
I have also made some great friends and customers along the way! I have grown up in my company, become responsible, honorable, accountable, and reliable. I was married and adopted my wonderful daughter, Chelsey, who is simply incredible. She blessed me with my first grandson in 2016 and is an incredible mom! I also have two puggles (Pug & Beagle mix) Sammy and Chloe. Chloe was a rescue dog and they are inseparable! Sammy is named after Sammy Hagar, as Sammy and I are both big fans.
So now you know the basic story of my life and my company. If you made it this far, thanks for reading and I hope you have enjoyed our story! We are in our 33rd year in business now and I am just speechless thinking of all that has been accomplished by my company so far. To say that I am proud would be a vast understatement. I am blessed with the most incredible staff around me, Cherie my office manager has been here for 16 years now. Everybody in the social area knows who we are. Our clients include professional athletes, most of the members of my favorite band Aerosmith, we are at the Kennedy compound on a regular basis, we’ve worked on the state house, hospitals, schools and nursing homes. We have even painted train cars at Edaville railroad, which is interesting because that was my first job prior to restaurants- running the model T car ride at Edaville! Best of all, we have worked on so many incredibly nice people’s homes throughout the years, and throughout the South Shore. Our relationships with our customers last for years. We have been back to some homes almost every year for different projects, and we work for our customer’s children. I’m so thankful to everyone who has referred us along the way. If you made it this far, I truly appreciate your time and hope you will feel very comfortable in hiring my company.
One Stop Family
Although I started One Stop Painting back in 1986, alone, I realized quickly that I could not do it all, by myself It takes hard-working people, and teamwork to successfully grow. Over the years we have grown and become a family. My belief is that someone who enjoys what they do everyday, and is happy, will take pride in their work and it will show. Following that philosophy has made the One Stop family grow, and achieve goals, both on the job, and off.
There has been much debate over a health care reform bill in Massachusetts, over the past few years. Although we are just a small painting company, I felt very strongly that it was my obligation to offer a plan. We did not go for just any plan. We offer a full HMO from Tufts that the company pays ½ of the policy, as well as a dental program thru Principal Life Group, also with a company split. I do not need to be told right from wrong. I could put a larger amount of money in my pocket, but I would rather sleep well at night knowing my employees are well provided for, in the event of illness. Management all receive vacation packages and paid holidays. We have a great retirement plan, again, with a very reputable company.
I was born a generation late I think. I look back to the 50′s and 60′s when you would see huge company picnics and outings. We try to do the same, and over the years have had different family theme fun days, whale watches, and fishing trips. We have done large Christmas parties, with over 80 employees & their families, customers and friends attending. The One Stop Annual Whale Watch and the Annual Family Fun Day are just two of many events that give us and our families all a chance to be together, in a relaxing and fun environment- It’s just another way to show my appreciation for the hard work that everyone puts in, throughout the year. We pride ourselves on teamwork, on and off the job. This past year the management team all attended a Red Sox game at Fenway Park. We did not do fishing or whale watching event this year, however, plans are in the works for spring of 2008, when we shall be having a huge Family Fun Day, with a clam bake as well.
We are a small company but we think like a bigger one. We do a lot of things here a bit different than other companies, but we are all very proud of the quality work we put out, and I am very proud of the generosity we are allowed to exhibit back to the community. It is truly a team effort at One Stop.
Our Local Community
As a local resident and business owner, I feel that I have a moral obligation to give back to the community. I know I can take it to an extreme at times, but if the worst thing someone can say about me is that I donated a lot of time and money to many different charities, that’s fine by me! As I write this, it is fall of 2016. I am a member of the Plymouth Area Chamber of Commerce and The Cape Cod Canal Chamber of Commerce. I have also been in the Cranberry County Chamber of Commerce and the South Shore Chamber of Commerce. Over the years. we have sponsored youth sports across the South Shore, numerous police and fire department events which benefit the fight of cancer, and MS, to name a couple. There is not much we do not try to help with, as it is what part of being in a community requires, teamwork. We have painted houses for Habitat for Humanity. We have also donated time and supplies to Local Art Guilds, little leagues, and high school booster clubs. We run contests from time to time to give away free Children’s Room Makeovers. We have received some fabulous entries! The last year we ran this contest, instead of just one winner, we not only picked a 1st place winner but we also added a 2nd place, and we even painted a 3rd room at just the cost of materials and small portion of labor, well under the normal cost! The 1st place winner, Robert Richter, submitted a great essay! As the winner, he received newly painted ceilings, walls, trim, new wall to wall carpet from Sherwin Williams, and a new stereo from my friend John Bonwitt, owner of Wiring Solutions. I then added in the final touches of curtains, comforter and sheets, and two Patriots pictures, one autographed to Robert. All who entered the contest received a thank you letter, and a gift card to Friendly’s for taking the time to write an essay. I am so happy to live on the South Shore. This is a special place, and I am here to stay, to live, and to help make it a better place to live!
In November of 2001, One Stop was chosen Business of the Year by the Plymouth Area Chamber of Commerce. I have spoken and passed out awards before, at many of our company parties, but this was the first time I had to stand up in front of 300 local business owners and politicians, to receive an award. It was truly a great feeling, and I was not as nervous as I thought I would be!
In 2006, One Stop was voted “Plymouth Best Painter’s” by a reader’s poll in the local newspaper, the Old Colony Memorial. This was a very proud moment. I know we pride ourselves on quality work and honest ethics, but it is great to receive public acknowledgment. A nice pat on the back always feels good! 2014 and 2015 we were chosen as the “Best of the Best” for local paining contractors by a national survey of the industry. This was a great compliment to go along with our local recognition!
Jeff Cohen served for many years on the Board of Directors for the Boys & Girls Club of Plymouth. In his time on the board, he has co-chaired the fundraising committee. One of the more successful benefits recommended by Jeff was the Annual Valentines Ball. This was a formal party. In 2001 it raised $12,000, after expense. Funds raised have increased each year, by almost $10,000 In 2010, the last year we held the ball, we raised over $70,000 after expenses! The combined Valentine’s Ball funds raised was over $250,000.
One Stop and Jeff have been very active in raising money and helping out the Special Olympics of Mass, and Special Olympics of Plymouth. In past years the town had hosted a benefit known as the “Corporate Games” and One Stop was a force in raising over $3000 each year. Jeff was voted into the Mass Special Olympics Hall of Fame for his work with them over the years, raising over $10,000 during the games, and One Stop is looking forward to the eventual return of the games. We as a company have received numerous plaques and awards for our help, but more importantly, we have put many smiles on many faces. If you have never attended an event, it is a must, as the energy and the sheer joy on the participants faces will change your life, and brighten any day, for years to come.
Many prior July 4th parades in Plymouth have seen One Stop Trucks pulling floats for the Boys and Girls Club, as well as for Special Olympics. We have missed the last few, but plans are underway for a return during the 2008 Fourth of July parade! We may even post some advance photos as we shall be building a float during the winter months of 2008, laying out the framework on the van we just took off the road. We will be following specs outlined out by the Thanksgiving parade criteria, so we may appear in two parades in 2008; do stay tuned! The kids love being in the parade and passing out candy as they drive along the streets of Plymouth, and my daughter has been asking, so I think we will be making a splash next year!
Jeff has been active in the Plymouth Area Chamber of Commerce over the years, serving once on Board of Directors during 2003, and several years as an Ambassador to welcome new members. While still a member in good standing, Jeff has been a bit less active of late, balancing work with family and numerous other boards and committees as well. Jeff is a past member of the Pilgrim Society in Plymouth, and has been a Rotarian with the Plymouth Rotary Club, since 2003 as well. Rotary is a great organization that helps raise money throughout the community, and then funnels it back to many local groups and non- profits, in need of assistance. In fact, Jeff is a “Paul Harris Fellow” which shows a higher personal & financial commitment to rotary and community.
We are also involved in the United Way program, which donates money directly from employees’ paychecks. This is their number one program to help raise money throughout the year. It is a very worthwhile program and I think more companies should be involved- it was relatively easy to set up as they come down to do an entire presentation. We have helped out area YMCA’s over the years as well, and my daughter Chelsey attends their summer camp, here in Plymouth (she’s a member of the Rainbow Girl’s and on her way to doing many things in the community as well!) and truly loves the camp, and I feel very strongly about the YMCA having a larger presence in town. They do compete for the same children that go to the Boys & Girls Club, but each are very different and both bring worthwhile programs to the children and the community. I am a big fan of both and plan on helping any efforts for a new club to come into Plymouth!
But in 2014 we ended getting very serious about our community efforts, and we formed the Jeff Cohen charitable foundation! This is a true Legal 501©(3) foundation, banded our endeavors. We do a yearly car show that we call “cars for cancer”, last year 2016 had approximately 200 cars registered, hundreds of people in attendance along with 30 or so vendors, but most importantly three local people going through chemo at that moment benefited directly from the car show with all proceeds. We plan on starting a scholarship fund in the near future from this car show as well.
The JCC Foundation now also hosts an annual “Back to the 80s party”, and the money generated from this event goes directly to help both the Plymouth Fourth of July parade as well as the fire work celebration. We enter floats into the parade under the foundation, typically with an 80s theme among others. Since we are so focused on community we pass out on average $1000 worth of candy to the children, along with temporary tattoos, approximately 400 T-shirts , and American flags! Again are float are constructed through volunteer efforts and a lot of the one stop company helps both with the float and with walking in the parade with their children! For 20 years I’ve been hosting an annual Halloween event, which over the last six years has been focused on raising money for a family that is suffered, it can be from the loss of a child, the loss of a parent, and in this year’s case a portion of the proceeds is being directed to a local construction worker who suffered a broken neck in the fall last year and has been out of work for a very long time.
Our charity and community work focuses more on local and national causes, although we do participate and help with national events as well, the overall Rotarian theme of “service above self” has been relevant through my entire life, and it trickles throughout our entire company and staff.
Both the foundation along with one stop painting I received numerous awards and accolades through the years, as well as some incredible press and notoriety. Most recently we received our second citation from the Massachusetts Senate, as well as a new citation from the house of Congress, and another from the House of Representatives recognizing our work throughout our communities.
We also try and help our local veterans as much as we can, whether it’s donating our time to perform free projects, we painted the cannons that are local VFW this year before their Memorial Day events, and we partner with other companies that work for veterans in a charitable manner weather is performing painting for “Hydreas for Heroes” or helping out another local foundation “The Nathan Hale Foundation”, both of which we look forward to helping even more in the coming years. And both are very focused on veterans and their needs.
Several years ago the JCC foundation hosted a Venetian themed masquerade ball that was attended by over 300. We had Brookline ice who does the Boston Commons for New Year’s Eve come to town and provide us with some incredible ice sculptures, Sysco foods donated and prepared all the food for the event, we had some incredible local sponsors, and we typically partner up with Coralee Burke, owner of “To the Max events” along with my dear friend DJ Gene Dupuis (both also serve on my event/foundation committee) and to say that the events we are capable of hosting are just short of incredible would actually be an understatement indeed. Everything we do from the painting at one stop, to the fundraising and event planning at the JCC foundation is always to the next level, or as Max would say, it is “To The Max” Even the website you’re viewing now is created by Barry Crowley, another good friend and he has helped plan and orchestrate much to do with our events, as well as our foundation website, and now my latest version of the one stop painting website including the charity page you are reading currently! So many things we do large and small, far too many to begin to list, these are just some of the ones to come to mind, or I feel are more notable and take great pride in such as our rewards. The satisfaction that comes from such simple things as playing Santa Claus for my Rotary club at our Polar express events in the look of delight on the children’s faces, or the faces of the kids as we passed by the parade and give them flags and candy, the complements will receive from people throughout that we have touched or helped, makes this one of the most satisfying portions of my life. And I would all in part too both one stop painting which has provided me the vehicle to launch my events from, to my staff at one stop was always there for setup and breakdown, to my office manager who has to deal with my frantic event planning and total takeover of the office when the auction items are accumulating, to the incredible volunteer committee and board of directors we’ve assembled for the JCC foundation, it’s both amazing what we’ve been able to do, and the personal satisfaction is beyond description. We look forward to many more years of both painting and community partnerships.