A much younger Paul Murphy works on his Tymco sweeper in 1972, a year after he took over Crown Maintenance.


In 1971, the Murphy family acquired a company named Regal Sweeping, which was run by the Shambaugh brothers and later by Pete Bahan. After purchasing three well-used Tymco trucks and a sweeping customer list with such names as Zody’s, Alpha Beta, and Market Basket, they renamed the company Crown Maintenance and began providing parking lot and street sweeping in Los Angeles County and surrounding areas. Meanwhile, commercial sweeping icons like Hank Fredricks, Norm Bass, and Jere Costello dominated the industry in the region.

For a historical perspective, consider these facts from that time:

  • Gasoline cost 50 cents per gallon.
  • Truck-mounted vacuum sweepers did not exist.
  • Sweeping was performed by Wayne & Wilshire sweepers transported on trailers.
  • Fedco and Gemco were the only big-box stores.
  • The minimum wage was $1.60

As the reality set in that the commercial and industrial property maintenance industry required full-time attention to sales, repairs, route scheduling, and grueling night hours, the older, brighter Murphy siblings bowed out.  Ultimately, Paul Murphy, just sixteen at the time of purchase, became sole owner by 1976.  Paul ran the business while pursuing a career with the Pasadena Fire Department. During his thirty years with PFD, he continued to build and reshape the company, and by the time he retired from the fire service, in 2007, the once retail-heavy routes were balanced out with sweeping services, power washing, steam cleaning, landscaping, day porting, and window cleaning contracts for large aerospace facilities, distribution and shopping centers, HOAs, hospitals, medical offices, industrial parks, and office parks.

Today, Crown services the counties of Orange, Los Angeles, San Diego, Ventura, Riverside, and San Bernardino. In addition to parking lot sweeping, Crown has partnered with Southern California’s most experienced industry professionals to offer the full array of property maintenance services, including pressure washing, steam cleaning, landscaping, day porting, window cleaning, hauling, graffiti abatement, concrete scrubbing, janitorial services, striping, and asphalt repair.

Meanwhile, trailer-dependent sweepers have now been replaced by truck-mounted units like Masco, NiteHawk, and Schwarze; Fedco and Gemco have given way to Costco and Sam’s Club; and gasoline hovers around $3.00.