Six Generations Of Kings Have Made Shady Deals, cont.,
from West County News, April 21, 1995:
Roger is also familiar with sun and shade in Shelburne Falls and has installed awnings at 10 Bridge Street and at Good Spirits, but he also goes as far as North Adams, Northampton and Brattleboro to find the sunny side of the street.
Bob went to those places as well. "To this day," he said, "we're well known in those towns. Maybe thats because we always did business in the old-fashioned, ethical waywe measured out the job, said what it would cost, and then did it for what we said."
Bob will reach 80 this year and still keeps his hand in the business, which operates out of a shop he and his sons built in East Charlemont on the Mohawk Trail. That business includes supplying awnings for residences as well as stores, and covering swimming pool areas. One of King Awnings biggest jobs is supplying canopies during the summer at Williams College.
If an awning is being replaced, the new material is often stretched on the old steel frame, which Roger says will last a lifetime. Awnings, on the other hand, are usually replaced after 15 or twenty years.
"People want awnings," he says, "not only for cover but to attract attention or to accent the public space in front of their stores. An awning can complement a sign, or the valance itself can be lettered," he said. If no frame is in place that also can be built.
Rogers father said he came to Shelburne Falls from Sayville, Long Island, "because times were so bad during the depression. I got a job at Mayhews for 35 cents an hour, but I was ambitious, dont you know, like young people tend to be. So it wasnt long before I started doing what Id learned from my dad."
He, too, began working on awnings when he was just a child. "I remember my dad waiting for me to get home from school so I could fix the sewing machine," he laughs. "I guess as a boy, I went everywhere with him." From that, it was just a step to forming his own business in West County.
"I guess," says Roger, "that the jobs we had as boys were important to us. We worked like crazy in the summer to keep up, and it kept the family going. But we also learned important things, like manual skills and how to deal with people. I still think of those things as valuable."
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