Six Generations Of Kings Have Made Shady Deals
By RICHARD MATTHEWS, Shelburne Falls and West County News April 21, 1995
Roger King's business card bears the message "Shady Deals Since 1938." His business making and erecting awnings.
Before Roger did it, his father, Bob King, put up awnings, a business he officially started in Shelburne Falls in 1938. But even before that, Bobs father, Harold King, upholstered furniture and made awnings in New York City and Long Island, and before that, Harolds father and grandfather (Henry Morgan King) were in the awning business in England.
As a matter of fact, Sir William Alkin King, Bob Kings great-grandfather, made furniture for Buckingham Palace. Whether he was knighted for his efforts is unclear, but it does establish the business on a pretty firm footing.
If you count Rogers son, Jay Wyant-King, who currently helps his dad with the business, thats six generations of Kings who have been making shady deals.
Bob King remembers the first time he heard the "shady deal joke. " It was suggested to him as a business motto back around 1945 by Tom Copley, who ran a gas station where Bob Copleys Clip Shoppe is now.
"I didnt use it," he said. "At the time, I didnt think people would have appreciated the joke." But times are different now, says Roger, and people are a lot more casual about the language. The new business card, generated by his son on a computer, is about two weeks old.
As his dad also can, Roger recalls working in the awning business almost as soon as he could walk."When lots of the kids around here were in the tobacco fields, me an dmy brothers were fitting grommets. Later, when we got older, we'd help hang the awnings and do some sewing."
Roger remembers the work as pleasant: "In a way, it was a great job. On a sunny day we'd go out on the lawn to cut holes and put in the grommets. We always had a job in the summer, and that was important to young boys.
Since then, Rogers two brothers, Ed and Ralph, have gone on to different things, but Roger is still cutting shady deals. On Bridge Street, for instance, he recently put up the blue- and white-striped awning in front of Charlemont TV on the same storefront where his dad installed an awning for Bergmans Dry Goods back in 1937, a year before he registered his awning business for social security reasons.
Bob King also installed awnings at Crowns Clothing and at the Innes Mens Store (now where Transitions is), and other businesses on Bridge Street.
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