Our History

More Than Six Decades of Excellence in Painting

The Beginning

old truck (3)Lake Area Painting and Decorating, Inc. started in 1950 and has always been a family-based business. James Keenan Sr. and his father-in-law Hank Lessard ran the business together for a few years until Hank decided to investigate other business ideas. Jim enjoyed painting and working with people to make their homes something special. Therefore, Jim held onto the business. Jim and his wife Dorothy were blessed with seven children, including five boys (which meant that Jim now had a ready labor force). Lake Area’s average labor force was about five men in the summer and two or three men in the winter. Jim’s brothers-in-law Tom Lessard Sr. and Don Lessard both worked at Lake Area for around 20 years.

history1Jim and Dorothy’s boys had 16 years separating the youngest from the oldest and they all started working full time in the summer after they turned 13. By the time they graduated from Mahtomedi High School, these boys knew how to work! They also knew how to paint and hang wallpaper. They also decided if painting was for them. The oldest son Mike and the youngest two James Jr. “Corky” and Don all decided to paint. Pat, Tim and Mike all finished college. Don finished high school in 1981 and James Keenan Sr. passed away in February of 1982. So began another chapter of Lake Area Painting and Decorating.


A Partnership

carWhen their father died, Mike, Jim and Don agreed to take over the business – which was a new experience for all three. Their dad had left behind a good business with great customers and no assets or liabilities. By 1984 the three brothers had incurred about $80,000.00 of debt, employed around 20 people, and were in trouble. They eventually figured out how to run a business, and after incorporating in 1984, they paid off their debt by working day and night seven days a week. By 1987 they were in the black, Mike and Don had chosen other lines of work, and Jim Keenan Jr. and his wife Linda were at the helm.

Jim Jr. (also known as Corky) started working full time during summers for his father at the age of 13. During his junior and senior years at Mahtomedi High School Jim was a participant in an On The Job Training program for 5 hours per day. Upon graduation in 1979 Jim married his high school sweet heart of four years Linda Warren and went to work full time for his father. Jim received his business education through the “School of Hard Knocks” between 1979 and 1987.

Jim and Linda have worked hard for 30-plus years to create a special business. A place where employees want to work, a place where we Take The Time to do quality work. Our employees are proud of the work they do and they know we are supplying to our customers a Superior Job and Service.

Due to our efforts, we have also succeeded in developing customers who truly care about their homes. They know the value of looks today along with durability tomorrow and for many years to come.