From a Cigar Box to a Multi-Million Dollar Company

13 Mar

Part V

 A lot of the people who worked at Le-Al-Co described it as a family and credited  Charles Bell with creating an atmosphere of caring and closeness. This feeling was enhanced by the events that took place within the confines of the company. Employees got married and divorced; celebrated births and faced death; and experienced triumphs and tragedies. The office and factory employed many people who were related, and this included members of Bell’s family.

Born the year before the creation of Le-Al-Co, Jack Bell, Charles and Elaine’s oldest son, literally grew up with the business. As a child, he treated the factory as his playground and the employees as his playmates. In fact, when the facility burned one of Jack’s most prized possessions, a motorcycle, burned along with it. In time, he became an employee as well and spent his high school summers loading trucks.

Jack impressed everyone with his hard work, and all realized that his destiny lay in following his father’s footsteps. He graduated from college in 1981 and immediately went to work in sales. However, it did not take long to discover that his strengths were in production. Through many years of hard work and arguments with his father, Jack became vice-president of production. In 1991, Charles Bell suffered an illness, and Jack took charge of Le-Al-Co until it was sold.

Bell’s hiring of relatives did not begin with his son. In 1964, Bell realized that someone needed to run the office. He spent a great deal of time on the road selling, and Thompson was focused on manufacturing. Bell needed someone trustworthy to handle the mounting paperwork and hired his cousin, Helen Parton. Soon, she realized that the job included more than filing documents as she oversaw bookkeeping, payroll, accounts receivable, accounts payable, purchasing and customer service. Known as “Granny” to the people who worked by her side, Parton described Le-Al-Co by saying that it went “from a cigar box to a multi-million dollar company.”Le-Al-Co Building 001

When her Le-Al-Co career began, Bell’s goal was to raise sells to $1 million a year. As Parton watched, sales increased to over $2 million a month.

With such growth, Parton’s job became too much for one person to handle, therefore the office staff increased. Through the years, dozens of people worked in the office, and Tim Denny was one of the most important. By 1985, Le-Al-Co’s business had reached a new level with the introduction of computers and the need for more sophisticated financial techniques. Denny brought knowledge in both of these areas as the chief financial officer.

Although Denny came with a degree in accounting, he always looked up to Parton and often said that he could not have done his job effectively without her expertise and help. Her knowledge of Bell and Le-Al-Co’s history provided him with the information to be successful. Under Denny’s watch and Parton’s continued hard work, accounting tabulated a 150% growth rate of the company.

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