By Conrad Dudderar
Forty years ago, Dick Swift decided to quit teaching to focus full-time on his home remodeling business.
The Swift family has been in Yukon since 1973. Dick spent eight years as a social studies teacher at Yukon’s middle school after three years teaching in Carnegie.
During the summer break, Dick Swift and fellow teacher Jim McCoy started painting houses. That grew into other construction projects and room additions.
What started as a part-time job because a full-time business in 1981 when Dick ended his teaching career.
For nearly five decades now, Swift & Sons Remodeling has made a lasting impression on thousands of Yukon’s homeowners and property managers.
“You could seriously drive down almost every street in Yukon and see a house we’ve worked on,” said David Swift, who started helping his father at a young age.
David now runs the third-generation family business after Dick retired a couple years ago.
“We’ve worked for so many good people, mostly hometown people,” said David, a 1984 Yukon High School graduate. “We don’t have to travel out of Yukon much because we have a lot of repeat business.”
There is a good reason for that, Dick added.
“You don’t have a big repeat business unless you do a good job,” Swift & Sons’ founder said.
Noteworthy Yukon customers include famed actor Dale Robertson and Gov. Bellmon’s brother Randall.
When he was just 9 years old, David started helping his dad with remodeling projects after school and during summertime.
“He told me, ‘I don’t want to stay home. I want to go with you’,” Dick recalled. “He’s been working for Swift & Sons almost his whole life.”
When David was still in school, longtime plumber and then-firefighter Kirk Hawkins worked alongside Dick.
Dick’s grandson Brian – a 2003 YHS graduate – also started working for the family business in the summer when he was young.
“We haven’t advertised in forever,” Brian shared. “It’s all word of mouth.
“We care to do a good job.”
Having taken over the business from his father, David Swift sees his son as Swift & Sons’ heir apparent.
“Hopefully, we can pass it down to Brian and Brian can carry on,” David said.
NO JOB TOO BIG OR SMALL
Swift & Sons provides both home and business remodeling services. They work on projects of all types and sizes – from tile work, carpentry, painting, window replacement, sheet-rocking, and more.
“No job too big or too small,” David emphasized.
“We can do just about anything – from the ground up. Really the only things we don’t do are concrete, electric, plumbing and bricklaying – and we have contractors for that.”
David estimated the company averages “a couple hundred houses” each year – many of them repeat satisfied customers. The team at Swift & Sons Remodeling takes great pride in their work.
David mentioned one “pretty cool” major project, remodeling a “party” barn southwest of Yukon.
“We re-did the whole inside with the large barn doors,” he related.
“It was a steel building with a steel frame, and we had to put wood on the entire inside of it. It was a chore. That job, we were there for quite a while.”
As a locally owned company, the Swifts make sure to use Yukon businesses for supplies, materials and equipment – specifically Carpenter’s Ace Hardware, Yukon Door & Plywood, Locke Supply, Brakefield Plumbing, Crosslands, Lowe’s, and Kelly Moore Paints.
Buddy Carpenter, owner of Yukon’s Main Street hardware store, praised Swift & Sons for their honesty and attention to detail.
“Dick, David and Brian are the nicest, really good people,” Carpenter said. “Whatever they told me needed to be done, I would trust them.
“They do excellent work. They’re very good at what they do. Very good.”
Although Dick Swift is officially retired, he still helps pick up parts when needed and stays busy managing his rental properties.
What many people may not know is that Dick has a master’s degree in education administration from the University of Oklahoma. His bachelor’s degree is in anthropology.
Dick also is an avid collector of Native American art, which adorns the walls of his home near Third and Holly.
“It doesn’t compare to some, but it’s a very nice collection,” he shared.
Dick has enjoyed his 48 years in Yukon, a growing town where he and his family have grown a thriving business.
“We’re comfortable here,” he said. “We came here in ’73 and we haven’t done badly.
“We’re still going to be here. We aren’t going anywhere. And we’re going to do what’s right!”