Servicing the Great Outdoors
Family-owned East Coast Industrial Services is ‘the only call you’ll need to make’ to tackle any outdoor commercial property maintenance need
If the Presuttis know one thing, it’s service. From a career in the cleaning service industry to starting his own cleaning business with his wife, Laurie, and then growing from there, Jay Presutti recalls all that they’ve dealt with to get to the thriving business East Coast Industrial Services Inc. (East Coast) is today.
After dealing with numerous challenges related to their business partners leading up to starting East Coast, Jay and Laurie were all but ready to move away from their Orange County home for a fresh start. Instead, they talked it over among the family and ultimately decided to give a new venture a go.
East Coast Industrial Services was formed in 2008, with Laurie as the majority owner and the couple’s two sons, Bryan and Neil, working alongside them full time. Jay remarks that one of the key factors in deciding to stay and start a new business was to ensure that Bryan, who has Stargardt disease (a form of macular degeneration) and is legally blind, would have a place where he could build a career.
The Pine Bush, New York-based company, which is a certified New York State WBE company and has about 35 employees, performs landscaping, parking lot sweeping, roadway sweeping, heavy highway sweeping, milling sweeping, power washing, snow removal, line striping, emergency services, fixing potholes—handling basically anything that goes on outside a commercial establishment. They even handle tenant evictions regardless of where the property manager is located, so East Coast, in effect, is the “eyes and ears” of their customers. Their slogan is fitting: “The only call you’ll need to make.”
Starting from Zero
It wasn’t an easy beginning, though. Jay shares, “We started East Coast Industrial Services with zero…nothing but a beat-up truck and a lot of past relationships with banks and lenders who knew I was a loyal, upstanding business person. They gave us a shot with the credit we needed to purchase the trucks we needed. Then, there was a company run by a good friend of mine who gave me all my equipment and wrote up a loan and said, ‘Here, pay me so much a month.’ That’s how we got things underway.”
When Jay and Laurie first bought the property they’re in now, it was in shambles. Jay recalls, “Our shop was a beat-up chicken coop! We went in and put in heaters, poured a floor in…that’s what we used for a while until we put up our brand-new building about four years after that.”
Neil, their youngest son, and Bryan were both in school at the time. They worked after school and on the weekends, helping to power wash the equipment out on the job sites. Although they didn’t really have a shop at the time, the Presuttis made the best of things. And for Bryan, it was a perfect fit since he was interested in doing the mechanic work, which can be done up-close.
After Neil and Bryan both graduated from school, they came to work full time, and they’re still with the company full time today. “Bryan helps in the shop,” Jay says. “He’s like a shop foreman and he also helps in the office. So, everything we have here is adaptive for him, such as large print on the screen.”
Responding to Challenges
When describing the family-run company’s main strength, Jay and Laurie agree: they are extremely customer-service oriented. Jay says, “We’ll go out of our way to help our customer. We don’t pretend to be perfect as there are always hiccups in the road. But it’s how we respond to a challenge that sets us apart. We’ll do whatever we need to do to make the customer happy.”
East Coast Industrial Services is also heavily involved in their community, donating its trucks and sweepers for Main Street cleanups every spring as well as servicing the town park before Little League season gets underway. Jay adds, “My dad was very patriotic, having served in World War II. He was a Navy Seabee. He just loved this business. In his memory, we do a Toys for Tots fundraiser for the Marine Corps. One year, we decorated the sweepers with lights and garlands and had an employee dress up like Santa to give away gifts to some families who are down on their luck.”
As to what the future holds, Laurie shares, “We’re branching out in our services—like offering 15-yard roll-off dumpsters—and growing our business and our marketplace. We’re also looking to really utilize the WBE certification and we’re now going for our DBE.” Jay adds, “We’ve been on a steady incline of growth since we started our business, and we’re continuing on that road.”