The year is 1946; minimum wage is a mere $.40 an hour, Tupperware is introduced to U.S. consumers, and Reese Electric opens their doors on February 10th by Ben and Viola Reese!
Ben was born in Bandon, attending school there. He began his electrical career in 1936, in his hometown. One of his earliest jobs was wiring the temporary "Tent City" for the homeless after the fire of 1936 that nearly destroyed all of Bandon.
The first office was located at 1200 South Broadway, in Coos Bay, in a small house that is present day Hansen's Animal Hospital. in 1947, the business moved to 781 Virginia Avenue, North Bend, renting space in the old dairy building. In 1948 the business moved again, this time to a place they would call home for the next 62 years, to 2011 Union, North Bend.
During the mid-50's Reese became the local Frigidaire appliance dealer, with another store in Coos Bay, just across from The Egyptian Theatre. The sales manager for the Coos Bay store was Les McKay, who also was the sports announcer for the local radio station. Les hosted the "play by play" for the Lumberjacks, a local professional baseball team. Many patrons would stop by the store just to meet the man whose voice they listened to on the radio! In addition to the appliances Reese carried television sets and cable when they first came out! As the T.V. sets and appliances started to phase out the business shifted more towards electrical contracting.
In 1965 George Reese began his electrical apprenticeship program while working for his father. George completed his apprenticeship in 1969 and began his work in the field as a journeyman, using most of his time after work learning to bid jobs. in 1969 George married Sharen Sorensen, with their daughter Kristine being born in 1966, and Sharen joining the business in 1970.
Ben and Voila continued to operate Reese until 1976, then began their full time retirement, selling the business to George and Sharen Reese.
George and Sharen pictured left.
During the early 80's when the economy slowed down the company only employed one full-time electrician and one part-time electrician. As the economy started to pick up, the business grew steadily and has continued to do so! At the 50th anniversary, in 1966, Reese had about 25 employees.
In 2004 Reese Electric was sold to Randy and Becky Rema. Randy, being a Coos County native, was born in Keizer Memorial Hospital in North Bend, now the Coos County Annex. The first year stayed relatively the same, with on location and a total of 22 employees. Just after the first year Reese hit a growth spurt, with sales growing by 70%! With the trend continuing into 2006 and 2007, the company was able to purchase more utility vehicles and peaked with a total of 63 employees!
Yockey Electric, in Bandon, was purchased in 2005 from the Motheral family, becoming another Reese Electric, as it remains to date. In the same year, a branch was opened in Florence, but only lasted 3 years due to the community being small and retirement based.
With the slowdown of the economy in 2008 Reese Electric shrank some and since, has evened out to 44 employees on hand. Continuing to be a leader in electrical construction on the Southern Oregon Coast, we serve a 210 mile area from Newport to Brookings.