Bernard Manley was no stranger to adversity. Born early in the Twentieth Century, he was alive for the Great Depression, prohibition, three major wars, and drastic changes in American culture. He witnessed the birth of television, the rise of Elvis and the Beatles and watched as the news reports flooded in announcing the assassination of our 35th President. Bernard grew up on a Midwest farm and continued farming into his young adult years. During that time he also met and fell in love with his future wife, Mary. They soon got married and started a family. After farming for several years, Bernard moved to the Sioux City area where he took work as a bus driver, a truck driver, and worked for a local chemical company. He understood the value of working hard to provide for his family.
Bernard always dreamed of starting his own business. In 1968, at age 57, he took a chance and started a small ServiceMaster franchise out of their house with one van and two employees. Bernard took care of the clients and Mary took care of the books. In the beginning, he focused mainly on residential carpet & upholstery cleaning with a few janitorial accounts on the side. They were also the only ones in the area to do fire and smoke clean up.
Clearly, Bernard had a knack for building relationships and earning peoples’ trust. He worked hard and did a great job of exceeding customers’ expectations. That’s why before long the business started to grow. Soon, Bernard’s son Gene joined the business as a partner. Business continued to boom. In 1979, Bernard’s wife, Mary Manley, passed away. Soon after, Bernard decided to sell the franchise to his son Gene. But, he never stopped working.
Under Gene’s command, ServiceMaster of Sooland continued its exponential growth. 1982 brought about some new developments as Gene’s son, Scott Manley, showed a growing interest in the family business. Influenced and mentored by two of the best in the business, Scott began learning the ins and out of operating a successful business. Almost 10 years later, Scott became partner in the family business.
Side by side, Gene and Scott have ushered ServiceMaster of Sooland into a new era of success and service. But, they couldn’t have done it without the solid foundation that was set by a hard-working farm boy who took a chance on life.
In 2009, Bernard Manley passed away at age 97. But, not before leaving behind a meaningful family legacy. He was proud of what he had built and thankful for the relationships he had cultivated. 40 years later, the Manley family continues to run a successful business guided by the principles passed down from Bernard:
– Treat people right– “Be kind to people and give them more than they expect.”
– Work hard– “Don’t take shortcuts. Always do a good job.”
– Make family the top priority– “Situations and people will always come and go, but your family will always be there.”
This isn’t just a catchy business philosophy. These are the values they live and work by.