A brief history of our 49-year-old family-owned business.
Empire Spray Service was founded in 1974 in the basement of the Hunter family home. Marvin and Dan, father and son, started the business with one tanker truck and only themselves for a workforce. They offered a wide variety of services in the early years of the business in the Spokane and surrounding Inland Empire communities. By developing strong customer relationships they earned the respect of their vendors and competitors while providing the community with impeccable, proficient, informative and personalized service.
Those ideals, coupled with an extremely strong work ethic, quickly illustrated the need for expansion. Brother Vern joined the company and in 1978 property was purchased to build the shop and office existing to this day. More trucks and employees soon followed.
The type of services Empire Spray offered was in high demand in the ’80’s and the company flourished. Marvin retired in the late eighties and turned the company solely over to the brothers.
Empire Spray Service survived the past decade of economic turmoil and uncertainty. The continued business acumen that the Hunters started in the ’70s carries forward today through exceptional customer service. Because it’s not just Business, it’s Personal.
The legacy continues today with Jenni Hunter-Ham, daughter of the late Dan Hunter at the helm who now operates the family-owned business alongside her husband Greg and their 2 sons, Jared and Harlan, aka Harley.
Youngest, son Harley started out working during the summers of 2016 & 17. He drove trucks, dragged hose, and applied fertilizer with Mom continuously questioning and analyzing every aspect of the business. In 2018 & 19 he worked side by side Dad, perfecting his spraying technique in the field, building customer relations, increasing his knowledge of weeds & insects and constantly questioning and analyzing every aspect of the business. By 2020, he had attained all the necessary licensing and training needed to go out on his own. He took over Dads entire route and never missed a beat. He and Dad are also the mechanics in the family. They maintain and repair ALL the vehicles and equipment which saves an enormous amount of time and money.
After playing soccer for SFCC and Montana State University Billings and acquiring an AA Degree, eldest son, Jared worked the months of February and March in 2017, 18, 19 & 20 with Mom learning how to prune Fruit Trees and about trees in general and the insects and diseases that commonly afflict them. Jared spent the summer and fall of those years working for the United States Forest Service fighting Wildland Fires in our side of the Cascades. During his 4 years with the Forest Service he learned a great deal about managing forest vegetation, reducing fire hazards, and maintaining forest health. He also qualified as a Certified Sawyer with a B Feller classification. In 2021 Jared came on full time and was out on his own route half way through the season.
It has become clear that Harley areas of strength are Weed and Lawn and anything that has a motor and wheels. Jared the Insect and Tree guy. Truthfully, this has been the case since they were toddlers! Greg and Jenni are thrilled at the thought of slowly being phased out, sit back and relax while the 4th Generation continues the legacy.
Empire Spray Service has always relied solely on the ‘word-of-mouth’ technique that Spokane still strongly abides by. We’re now “online” sharing our story and service techniques to the community at large. To our faithful clients welcome back, it’s good to have you on board. For those in the community who are new or searching for a new vendor, welcome and don’t hesitate to contact us with questions about our impeccable, proficient insect, weed, lawn, and pest control.
Our fruit tree program was developed by my grandfather who started as an orchard farmer, in Wenatchee, WA, in the 1940’s. He became involved in the development of the Washington Apple Commission and the promotion of WA apples across the country and abroad. He later opened a General Store, where he formulated a product to control insects in the orchards. He then created Hunter Spray Service.
Hunter Spray formulated and mixed the product which was then applied with special equipment for the Orchard Farmers in Wenatchee and Chelan. The products have changed over the last 40 years but the general application schedule has remained and has continued to be successful.