A Hollywood Icon That Has Stood The Test of Time

Western Exterminator SignIt’s really hard to miss when you are driving along the Hollywood Freeway and it’s a landmark that’s been there for decades. It’s made a cameo appearance in the Hollywood blockbuster Lethal Weapon and it’s been the place where hundreds of Western Exterminator professionals have launched their careers.

What is this place you ask? No, it’s not an In N’ Out Burger but Western Exterminator’s historic Los Angeles office, Service Center 1.

In the meantime, if you have a pest problem and want to contact the Western Exterminator experts to inspect your property and provide pest control services for a variety of potential pest problems.

For the Western Exterminator family this is more than a building – it is part of our long, rich history and holds many fond memories for the hundreds of colleagues (yours truly included) who have worked out of the building at one point or another during their career with Western.

Built in 1952, Service Center 1 was a result of Western’s steady growth under our founder Carl Strom and his partner/brother-in-law Ray Lovejoy.  Our ever-expanding Western team simply outgrew our previous facility which was located less than a mile away on Beverly Blvd.

Our Los Angeles Service Center  has been home to some very talented and unique “characters” in its day, and if only those walls could talk!

  • “Little Joe” Santilli spent 49 years with Western Exterminator and was there when the building opened. Joe worked as a Service Technician, was a top-notch equipment repairman and helped manage our product inventory until he retired in 2000.
  • Then there was fellow Service Technician Mel Pressar who liked to dress up as ME at company events, and even made a guest appearance on the old Gong Show (for those of you who remember back to the 1970s). Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!
  • The original 17 ½ ft. high likeness of yours truly – the one that you see as you are stuck in LA traffic – was created by my colleague, talented artist and son of our founder, Bob Strom, in the parking lot.
  • Frank Mauro was the first manager of Service Center 1 and he eventually became Western Exterminator’s first Vehicle Fleet Manager, too, for the garage housed at – you guessed it – Service Center 1. Today, Western’s fleet headquarters remains at this very location.
  • At one time the office had an apartment upstairs where our maintenance man lived and kept a watchful eye over the place 24/7.
  • Our Commercial Services Division, which caters to food handling facilities that must be serviced late at night or in the early morning hours when customers aren’t present, was launched from our Los Angeles Service Center in 1984 using space that once housed the old apartment.
  • Our current Vice Chairman, President and Vice President/General Manager (Roy Ashton, Michael Katz and Tom Anfora, respectively) all started their Western careers at Service Center 1. In fact, Roy was hired by Carl Strom, our founder, in 1956.

For years, Service Center 1 and our corporate administration were in the same location, with not quite enough elbow room for everyone.  In 1973, the decision was made to move the corporate headquarters south to Orange County. This accommodated not only the company’s growing need for an expanded corporate team, but also allowed the service team in Los Angeles to focus on what makes Western Exterminator great – delivering knock-your-socks-off customer service.

Today, our Los Angeles office is home to nearly 60 talented professionals who expertly service commercial and residential accounts in the downtown LA area, Hollywood and the Westside.

You know, the view from inside the building is great too.  We’re on top of the hill, looking out over the city.  We can not only check out traffic on the Hollywood Freeway, but also have a clear view of the Hollywood Hills including that famous Hollywood sign and the Griffith Park Observatory.  From the parking lot you can view the buildings in downtown, and it’s an excellent place to watch the sunrise!

We recently refurbished our famous freeway sign that runs the full length of the building, and which is featured often on the Museum of Neon’s annual downtown tour. The training room is a virtual Western Exterminator history lesson! There are dozens of photos documenting the company’s growth and the people who helped make it happen. Throughout the office itself there is art reflecting the many interesting, historical and fun places in L.A. My favorite is the one that gives the viewer the sense of standing behind the Hollywood sign looking right back at our building!

The kitchen and “ready room” (where our Technicians gather right about sunrise each morning) was remodeled to reflect a 1950s diner motif. How else would you decorate a room with a black and white checkerboard floor in a building built in 1952? It looks really sharp and everyone enjoys hanging out there during lunch, or just for a friendly conversation.

To many it appears to be just another office building. To the employees of Western Exterminator it is an important piece of our history that still plays an on-going role in our growth and success today, and continues to be recognized as our flagship office.   A special ‘hats off’ salute to the City of the Angels from yours truly!

Have a question about Western Exterminator? If so, send me an e-mail at [email protected] and I’ll get back to you right away with the information you are looking for.

Until next time, thanks for making Western Exterminator Company “The Final Word in Pest Control®”. If you have questions about a variety of pests then contact us and find out what we can do to help your home or business deal with a number of potentially serious pest problems.

Have a pest free day.

Mr. Little

He’s represented Western for nearly a century. But he’s no old fogey. Follow Mr. Little’s blog for pest tips and facts!

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