Dayton-area businessman talks about how mentor inspired him to continue legacy

Sometimes a chance meeting can change the course of a person’s life. Just ask Jack Brendamour, who called Peter McCreary in Dayton about purchasing something the latter had advertised on Craig’s List.

“I met Pete in 2015,” Brendamour said. “He pulled up in a Junk King pickup truck and he seemed like one of the most amazing people. He made people think nothing else in the world mattered to him at that moment than them.”

Brendamour was working in his family’s business at the time — Brendamour Moving and Storage — the company his father started in 1982. With a degree in management and strategic leadership from Ohio University, Brendamour always knew he could sell.

“Growing up in the Boy Scouts, I always sold more popcorn than anyone else,” Brendamour said. “Anyone who knows me knows I’ve always had that sales mindset.”

Besides working in various roles in his family’s business, Brendamour got his real estate license and always liked the idea of helping others. Then he met McCreary and was intrigued.

“Pete needed to bring on some higher-level staff to help grow his company, which he had opened in Dayton in 2011,” Brendamour said. “I came on board in 2015.”

But not before thinking, sleeping and praying on it. Brendamour said he interviewed with McCreary four times but felt at that time the last thing he wanted to do was get involved with a small business. And he knew nothing about Junk King, a nationally franchised company that specializes in “eco-friendly” junk removal.

“Once I decided to join, I was excited,” said Brendamour, who became general manager of the Dayton and Cincinnati offices.

McCreary, a graduate of Fairmont High School in Kettering and Ohio State University, connected with Brendamour because they both had the same entrepreneurial spirit.

“Pete’s inspiration for starting a Junk King franchise was something that happened after his mother got sick and had to leave her home,” Brendamour said.

McCreary called a local junk removal company and asked what would happen to his mother’s things and was told it was all going to landfills.

“Pete thought that there should be something better out there,” Brendamour said.

Tragically in July 2018, McCreary passed away after his motorcycle was hit by a car. He was 53 years old and left behind a wife and four children.

Brendamour suddenly had some big decisions to make.

“I was running the business for him when he passed,” Brendamour said. “He wanted to spend more time with his family.”

But since McCreary was unable to pay him what he could make in similar jobs elsewhere, Brendamour was hoping he would eventually be able to purchase an interest in the company. McCreary’s sudden death put everything on fast forward.

“There was no time to think,” Brendamour said. “We were two weeks away from moving our main headquarters; and I either had to come in the next morning and tell everyone we were closing our doors or decide to keep it going.”

This was not a tough decision for Brendamour, who had established close bonds with all the Junk King employees and considers them family. He knew he needed to work to keep the company open, especially for the 35 employees who had helped build it.

Today, Brendamour’s company is thriving. When McCreary passed away, Brendamour and his wife, Julianne, had one young child and they were expecting twins.

“I would say throughout the years, the norm is that we are very busy,” Brendamour said. “We never had to do any layoffs.”

And the company continues to focus on being eco-friendly, currently recycling 60-70% off items they take in. McCreary’s concern for the health of the planet and having a company that was “green” inspired Brendamour, who has a passion to carry on the business the way his mentor would have wanted.

“We would make a lot more money if we dumped everything in landfills,” Brendamour said. “But we believe in helping people and nonprofits as much as we can.”

The company actively supports Habitat for Humanity with donations of household items others have discarded; and all Junk King employees are encouraged to become involved with local nonprofits. Outside of the major charities the company supports, Brendamour said they recycle carpet padding, Styrofoam, Christmas lights and even paint, which they mix and send to Third World countries.

And the junk business continues to be greatly needed, especially with the younger generations living more minimalist lives.

“It’s a disservice to your children to leave them with a lot of clutter they don’t want,” Brendamour said. “All this stuff needs to go somewhere, and we believe having a company that will do what’s right is invaluable. We aren’t some big corporate-owned entity. We all have families, and we are supporting local families.”

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