By Theresa Ream
This story centers around family and business and the fact that we said, ‘Why Not!” to opportunities.
My Grandfather and Grandmother immigrated here from Mexico to work in the fields, in Spreckels and up and down the fertile Valleys of California. They were migrant workers, looking for a better life. I was born in Monterey, and though we did not have much, it was better than what my folks had before. My Mother was a forward-thinking woman of the times. She was a business owner during the 1930’s starting her first business at the age of 18 years old. Women business owners were rare then, but my mother built her business into the first very well- known organic chicken and egg farms in the early 1940’s. People would come from as far as Greenfield and the Santa Cruz mountains to purchase her high-quality poultry products. Later she built by her own hand one of the largest, nicest Kennels in our area, where she was a breeder of pedigree dogs including show cocker spaniels, tiny moon head chihuahuas of every color and her specialty, miniature apricot-colored poodles with beautiful black tips on their fur. I think I get my business ethic and drive from her.
My husband, Terry and I started Ream Construction in 1981, contracting with the City of Pacific Grove to rehabilitate houses for senior citizens. We did similar work in Seaside. After a drunk driver ran through our living room and the adjuster for our claim asked us what we did for a living, it was at that time that we were approached to do insurance reconstruction work on homes with damages due to smoke, fire and water. So, we thought “Why not!” And that is how we began that aspect of our company. We added contents restoration, as well as structural damage repair to our repertoire. At that point, we had two children, ages 9 months and 2 years old. I worked from home so I could raise my children and run the business. That worked well for us until the big freeze in 1992. I recall the morning that I looked up to see 30 employees standing in our living room. We decided right then that we needed an office! In 1993 we renamed our business to Ream Construction and Disaster Cleaning. Since then, we have joined with a national franchise and changed our name a final time to Disaster Kleenup Specialists. We have been in business for over 40 years now.
Shortly after that, we were approached again, this time to provide cabinets and flooring. Art Brost became our manager. He was ripe with experience, for he had designed two kitchens in the White House previously. Again, we thought, “Why Not!” So, we created two retail stores, Cypress Cabinets, which is now Cypress Design & Build, and Floor Store USA’s Flooring America which is managed by the very talented Paul Gottlieb, bringing 30 plus years of Sales and management expertise from Mohawk Flooring Industries.
In 1995 my business mentor Roy Meadows said “You must buy a warehouse that will house your offices and working warehouse.” I said “Roy I do not have that kind of money!” Roy said “You must!” So again, we said, “Why Not!” So, we put an offer on the building where our corporate offices are housed to this day smack in the middle of the growing city of Sand City, California.
As fortune has it we are blessed with a daughter that has an uncanny aptitude for business. Amanda Ream Crumpton has taken over a large part of the production and administration as the Chief Operations Officer. Still quite young at the age of 32 she is a force to reckon with! She has many attributes as she is savvy yet kind in her business management rolls, and we are beyond proud of her intelligence, good nature and wit. In her personal life she exudes the perfect wife and mother.
Terry and I enjoy being active in our community. Terry spends most of his time training fine and upcoming project managers and estimators. He is a kind of dad to many who work for us.
Terry loves projects, so we always have some type of family project going on or he is building something with our grandson Cash, who we are fortunate to be raising. Heather, his mama, passed away in 2018. She also worked in our businesses as the head marketing coordinator, and she is dearly missed. I enjoy being active. I work out daily at Fit Body Boot Camps in both Clovis where our second home is located and Monterey. I enjoy archery and going to the shooting range and anything outdoors. My pride and joy are being the President of The Professional Women’s Network where I was able to take it nationally during the Pandemic as zoom severed geographical boundaries and we have members throughout the United States and Canada now.
We have come a long way since we first met as teenagers on a blind date- Terry was my date’s friend. I was 16 years old, and Terry was 19 when we met on that fateful night. We dated six years and were married on his 25th birthday. I worked as a hairdresser and Terry worked in construction for his dad in San Jose in the early years. But we had a dream to own our own business and we went for it. We have never looked back! I am proud to say the Disaster Kleenup Specialists Inc. is a Certified Minority Woman Owned Business. We take pride in serving our communities in devastating circumstances. I like to think that my entrepreneurial Mother would be proud. “Why Not!”