More than 50 years ago, Hercules himself was a new person coming to the city, looking for an opportunity. A poor farmer from Mississippi and former World War II veteran, Hercules worked around the Delta and set out for Detroit in search of a better living.

He learned the cleaning business as a day porter in a jewelry store and later as a custodial supervisor at a federal air base. He furthered his government experience working for the city of Detroit as a maintenance superintendent.
Compensation was fair, but looking for a little extra money to support a fishing habit, Hercules and his son, Hercules Jr., decided to launch their own cleaning service out of the basement of the family home in 1964.

“We started the business to buy a boat,” says Hercules. “We didn’t want to start fishing from the banks.”

The two Hercules’ named the company after their namesakes and started bidding on accounts around the city. With five kids, Hercules had a built-in crew.
Whether a customer was a small office building or the factories of prestigious Mohawk Liquor, Hercules gave everyone the same personal service and attention to detail. He was happy to lend a hand regardless of the problem. Word quickly spread about “H&H’s” great customer service and the small start-up attracted dozens of Detroit businesses.

By 1970, customers began asking about products listed in the RFPs, so Hercules began providing them — and with the same can-do attitude and personal service.

This decision is what launched the company into the distribution business — a move that proved more lucrative than servicing the accounts. Its first clients were the same they had won over with their great service: Detroit municipalities, public schools, and large contracts such as the City Airport and police and fire departments.

“Business got good then,” says Hercules. “It provided things for my family that I couldn’t have done on my own.”

As government accounts, these facilities were looking for a minority-based supplier, but also a vendor who could provide personal service. It was a perfect fit for HHI.

“When we get an account, we focus on that account and market,” says Belinda. “We make sure we can service them adequately before we work on our growth strategies.”

Even today, the company still supplies to the Detroit Board of Education. The relationship has remained so strong that Hercules & Hercules was named Supplier of the Year in 2013.

Besides government and education, HHI also focuses on the healthcare market and develops product programs for major healthcare providers in Metro Detroit.

This ability to see potential areas of growth for his company gave Hercules more than just the fishing boat he set out to purchase. It gave him an opportunity to support the city he loved and benefit the people who lived there with jobs and a chance for better opportunities of their own.

“I love doing what I do,” says Hercules. “This business has been such an asset to me. I just love coming in and seeing it continue to prosper.”
As a reminder of why he started the company, a large walleye still hangs in the conference room. But Hercules knew the company was more than just a vehicle for his success. It could be transitioned to the next generation as well.  

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