From left to right, including framed photos: Alexis Dzielak (Vice President), Robert Frederick Sr., Robert Grabill (Warehouse Manager), Joseph Frederick, Brian Frederick (President)
by Lisa Maguire
Joe Frederick worked as a coal deliverer for DuPont Chambers Works in the 1930s. While there, he began helping a local plumber, Dan Altick. As time went on, Joe became more skilled as a plumber himself and eventually ran Mr. Altick’s business until his departure in 1947, at which time the business became Joe’s and began bearing his name.
Mr. Frederick’s business grew exponentially in the years to come, topping out in the 1980s with 55 trucks and 125 employees. “We soon realized bigger wasn’t better and our reputation was waning. When my brother and I bought the business, we made the decision to only do what we knew best, which was to deliver the best products and services,” says Brian Frederick, President of Joseph Frederick & Sons.
This January, Joseph Frederick & Sons will be celebrating their 75th anniversary – a probability-defying feat. According to Cornell University’s SC Johnson College of Business, only about 13% of businesses are passed on to a third generation successfully.
Taking over the family business was a shining moment for grandsons and brothers, Brian and Robbie. “The Frederick family is a very proud family and we could not be happier that we have defied the odds of family businesses in America. As for our employees, I often tell customers that we have the best employees in the entire state of Delaware. They make our family, name, and reputation what it is today. Remember, you are only as good as your worst employee. We strive to improve on our shortcomings and acknowledge when we need to fix something. That is why we have been around for over 75 years,” adds Brian.
Known well for their persimmon-and-black trucks and advertising, Joseph Fredericks and Sons is also highly-recognized for their outstanding service and dedication to their customers. The organization is very proud and protective of the reputation they hold in the community, attributing so much of their success to customer referrals. “It makes me proud to know that people are willing to refer us to their friends,” says Brian.
The award-winning family-owned company now employs 4 family members and 32 total people with a commitment to the community just as strong as the day their grandfather began it.