How we started
In January of 1982, with a desire to take care of the needs of others, Charlie Powers founded Frederick Fence Company. On day one of the company, all Charlie had was a strong back, a truck, and his friend, Jon “JC” Wisner, to help with labor. Charlie’s father, Billy, gave him a loan of $5,000 to get started, which Charlie paid back in six months’ time. Charlie’s wife, Diane-who was working at the Maryland School for the Deaf when the company started—also pitched in by acting as “administrative support” and answering phones. With no warehouse to store materials or equipment—such as a forklift or drill—Charlie and JC purchased materials as needed. Thanks to one of his former employers—Western Fence—who extended him credit for vehicles and equipment, Charlie slowly built up enough business and revenue to purchase his first bit of property off Route 355, just south of downtown Frederick.
For $50,000, in the form of a five-year note, Charlie purchased a half-acre piece of property off Grove Road in 1985. At the time, the road on which the property sat had no name, so Charlie named it Grove Lane. Because he lacked the funds to build a permanent office initially, Charlie set up shop on Grove Lane in a small camping trailer that had no bathroom. For Diane, this meant she had to walk to McDonald’s when nature called!When Charlie set up shop, Frederick looked extremely different. Back then, the county’s population hovered below 129,000 and I-85 was still a two-lane road. You could still see many corn fields alongside most roads before hitting the downtown area. Popular restaurants then were the Red Horse, Barbara Fritchie’s (with its infamous candy cane sign) and the Chat and Chew on Patrick Street. Frederick County still had Blue Laws in effect and the major downtown revitalization was just beginning. Because there was no internet, you had to rely on the yellow pages and ads in newspapers to get customers. When you look at what made Frederick Fence a success, you can narrow it down to one key word: salesmanship.
For Charlie, both employees and customers have always been like family; his desire was to treat them fairly and build the best fence possible. In the early days, there were several occasions where, upon finishing the last fence panel, Charlie would review his work and yank the fence out of the ground and start over because he didn’t like how he’d done the job. He never wanted a customer to feel dissatisfied with their purchase.
It is this mentality of care and attention to detail that has set Frederick Fence Company apart for the last 37 years. This commitment to always do the right thing has allowed Frederick Fence Company to become one of Frederick’s most successful small businesses. This trend will not be changing any time soon, since Charlie has handed the business down to his three children, Erin, Todd, and Kelly, who share his values, care for the people that work for them, and desire to continue helping the community.
If you are looking for a company that cares about you and will treat you like family, then Frederick Fence Company is your best bet… because that’s what we’ve been about from the beginning!