Frank Holly in 1984 with daughter-in-law Roseanne and son Don

CSUF Oral History Program, Brea Community History Project

Brea Electric Co. Co-Founder Frank Holly, Interviewed by Cathie Lou Porrelli, July 3, 1982

Cathie: How did you come to start your company?

Frank: Actually, I didn’t start it. It was started by Barney Leuzinger around 1919 and I’m quite sure that we’re the oldest established business in town. He did oil field electric work mainly. Later on, there was a contracting firm that came into Brea by the name of Massey and Blystone and he, Barney, sold it out to them. Along at the outset of the Depression, things got really, really tough. Another partner, rather two other partners and I, took the place over and with a very limited amount of capital and a debt. So we all worked in it and, finally, one of the fellows decided to get married, so we let him have the money that was in the drawer that weekend to go off and get married. That left the two of us, Elmer Weaver and me. The three partners who assumed the business were Tommy Andrews, whose dad was the Vice Principal at the high school at that time, and Elmer Weaver, who had previously worked for me at Brea Electric. Slowly, one by one, they left and I wound up buying each of them out. Therefore, I ran it solely from the very early thirties, about 1932, I imagine, up until last year when the place was still in my name. I still own half the business with my son and daughter-in-law , Donald Holly and Roseanne Holly, who are also my partners in the corporation. It goes under the name of Brea Electric Company, Don Holly, Incorporated, so it wasn’t too big a job to change it over to what it is now. I have two grandsons (chuckle) who don’t seem to be interested in anything at all there, but, who knows, maybe one will take over. I don’t know, but I think that we’re really the oldest organized Brea business existing now and that would be well over fifty years, wouldn’t it? Sixty-four years. Fifty to sixty years. A long time, isn’t it, Cathie?

Cathie: Yes. That’s fantastic. You must have gone through a lot of different economic phases and times.

Frank: Oh sure we did. I will never forget when we took over Brea Electric Company. I didn’t tell you a secret on this tape. My friend Tommy Andrews was able to get $50, I was able to get $50, and Elmer borrowed $25 from his folks. That gave us $125 opening capital. I arranged for credit with the General Electric Company for $75 and I said to be sure to shut us off when I reached that number. Of course, the $75 went a little farther than it does now. We had some pretty rough times, but we always saw that the bills were paid first and if there was anything left then we could have it. It was great and, you know, if I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t change things at all. I enjoyed it. It’s been fine and you always get the satisfaction of knowing you’re working for yourself. It’s been very kind to us. On top of that, we met some wonderful people I ordinarily wouldn’t have met without it. Does that cover it all?

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