Carrie Rengers

Don Rutherford alters company's 1949 name: 'It was a ... different world back then'

The longtime name and logo of Don D. Rutherford & Sons Inc., shown here, is changing to reflect changing times for the company.
The longtime name and logo of Don D. Rutherford & Sons Inc., shown here, is changing to reflect changing times for the company. Courtesy photo

Decades ago, a police officer stopped Don Rutherford II for speeding.

Rutherford wasn't in one of his Don D. Rutherford & Sons Inc. contracting vehicles, but the officer immediately identified him as being with the company when he saw his name.

"He says, 'Oh, you're the yellow-and-black-truck man.' "

That's how well-known the company was. A lot has changed, though, since Rutherford's father started the business in 1949, and that's why the younger Rutherford is making some changes now.

He's dropping the "and sons" from the company's name and possibly even the "Inc." to shorten things. The "contracting and engineering" tagline that the company's logo and trucks feature will be replaced with "restoration and remodeling."

Rutherford says the idea is to "make it a little easier for the customers to understand what we do — the kind of business that we're in."

Previously, "contracting and engineering" addressed adjusters, who were the main ones to refer work in the early days.

Back then, Rutherford says, it was the only Wichita business exclusively doing work resulting from insurance claims.

"It was a little bit different world back then," he says. "There's a lot of people who have gotten into it."

Also, the field has become more specialized with companies that solely handle issues such as water remediation or mold removal. Products are a lot different, too.

Over time, Rutherford says, he began phasing in remodeling services, particularly for kitchens and bathrooms, in addition to insurance repair work.

Rutherford says his father wouldn't mind any of the changes.

"I think he would be very happy. He was always a progressive and forward-thinking individual. He was always quick to identify changing trends or new equipment."

Rutherford says his father had a phone in his car and a fax machine in his office before anyone had even heard of either.

And it was his father's idea to open the company's Decor Center to help customers with items such as carpet, tile, window treatments and flooring. The senior Rutherford died before he could implement the center, but his son started it, and it's still at 801 W. Second St.

Rutherford says he's always known he'd have to make changes to keep up with the times, but there's one thing he won't change. That's the company's yellow-and-black theme. Rutherford says it has nothing to do with trying to get out of speeding tickets.

"I haven't had a speeding ticket in so long, I couldn't tell you."

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com.
  Comments