I wanted to expand on my Father’s company that he started the year I was born.  After being let go from his job and a large local company, Waste Management, he turned to his knowledge of the market and started his own company. Top Service is the company name aimed at highlighting his individual business model.  Having a master’s degree in business and finance, his business has been very successful these last two decades.  It provides back door service and can be pretty specialized, depending on what is being thrown away, what time to be picked up, items that need special disposal care, among others.

Learning from my dad about how to interact with people or customers has been very enlightening.  Being a small business and working for himself, with himself as the only employee, Michael was able to set up a network of locals and start a regular route.  He is a businessman, and social expert.  He can read a person like a glove and almost always gets what he wants by using tools he has picked up over the years.  He has a personal connection with nearly all of his customers and prides himself on that.  He knows the ins and outs of the business and what to expect.  There is no real business model, aside from what Michael has written up

The business is run out of my family’s home, with papers and envelopes strewn about the house!  He has an office in the basement, which is moderately successful at keeping everything together.  All monetary exchange is done through checking and a physical exchange at the bank; no online deposits.  His one and only truck sits in the driveway and makes our house the most recognizable.  Michael runs his business very fairly, making marginal changes when the economy is up or down, and provides moderate rates for additional pick-up items.  Fortunately, everyone will always need a trash service, so Top Service will always have a niche in which to operate.  The operation is simple, he works four days a week, each day has a new route, and he picks up trash.  The fifth day of the week is devoted to billing and paperwork.  Top Service does not particularly advertise itself; the company has been very successful working in our small town and the surrounding areas of the greater Grand Rapids by word of mouth alone.  He likes it a smaller, more personal business, and likes knowing his customers by name and face.



I am doing a project with the [former] company Rio, an interior design company based out of Eugene, OR.  [the company has just undergone a change in name, and a minor change in focus, but I will be talking about Rio as is was, and the transition into JJ Designs]  I have a brief history, written by the owner, whom wanted the story of her company’s beginning documented [see link at bottom].  The owner and creator, Julie James, has been all over the world and has been highly influenced by each visited cultures’ architecture.  Finally settling in Eugene, this dynamic individual took her knowledge of worldly craft and examined it further through study and educational resources, most spent right here at the UO, and finally deciding on starting a company that showcased her love of the crafts that she learned.

Spending several years working in and around the city through her company Rio, Julie felt compelled to pursue a more rustic style of wall finish, and through much Italian education and practice, began frescoing walls for clients as well as designing high-end furniture.  Rio consults with fabric companies and other specialty companies to create a unique look for the client, as well as provide an open conversation communicating the limitations and suggestions between the two.  Rio is unique in that all of the materials used throughout the design have intent and even further, a well-established knowledge of the product being used and why it is being used in the space.  Julie is well versed in art history, after taking numerous and uncounted classes on the subject, both here at UO and, namely, abroad.  Her base in knowledge, to stress the point, is essential for the company’s perspective designs.  Another feature that makes Rio stand out is Julie’s ability to do a lot of the work herself, namely the wall finishes, which is a very high skill level and extremely physical!  Essentially, having this company is very rewarding for the owner, being able to create something unique and something to share with others.

Rio is run out of Julie’s home in South Eugene.  Her business has a room in which to operate, with a computer and printer, as well as scraps of fabric laying around and tile samples and photos of inspiring images.  Her office is very neat and orderly and, you guessed it, the walls are frescoed!  The atmosphere is very warm and inviting.  Because it uses such unique materials, Rio has established many local and international connections which makes it a very dynamic company as well.  Clients will seek out Rio’s services for a unique design, and is generally a higher end client, but not always.  Factoring in, too, that Julie is a member of the ASID (American Society of Interior Designs) is a huge national label for designers, indicating a genuine artist and interior designer.  Julie’s new company, born out of Rio, is J James Designs, inhabiting most if not all of the values from the former company.  The company seeks to always “follow the guidelines set by the ASID to offer the best interior design plan, keeping it current, relevant and reasonable, and always looking to invest in education.”  It is noted that the main area of her work is fresco wall techniques.  This is the main reason for the change in title, the focus of the company is now mostly wall related.