By Ann Luongo

Sometimes in life, the unexpected has a way of creeping up on you when you least expect it. It was around 1986 when the restaurant where Jeff Cohen had been working went out of business, and he found himself unemployed and not knowing what his next step would be. Fortunately, he wasn’t out of work for long. Cohen had friends who were working for a painting company and they asked him to come work with them. “I had no experience, and I told (the owner) that. He was good, though. He taught me,” Cohen said. “I stayed there two months. I felt like I had learned all I really needed to know. I watched and learned from the owner, who had a busy, successful business, and decided that if he could do it so could I.” He became his only employee, with almost no experience to speak of, and a $100 pickup truck he owned. But with the drive to make it on his own, Cohen unknowingly launched what would become One Stop Painting & Renovating – a successful Plymouth business which now employs around 25 talented workers, and has a fleet of 11 vehicles. “I had no idea what I was doing in the beginning,” he said, “but it worked.” The One Stop Painting fleet can be found all over the South Shore and the Cape, with their bright-red stop-sign insignias, and the company, which has won countless small-business and charitable awards, is widely recognized as one that is trusted, reliable and recommended. When his company is called upon by a first-time customer, they receive a packet that includes not only an estimate for the work the potential client needs done, but past-customer testimonials, hints on how to compare prices, information on how to hire a good painting contractor, and the top 10 reasons to hire One Stop Painting, among other helpful hints – information you don’t typically receive from a contractor. Painting is not the only aspect of Cohen’s business. “We also do gutter cleanings, installation and repair; full-service carpentry; we remove and install wallpaper and carpeting; high- and low-pressure power washing; interior and exterior painting (cabinets and wall units, too!); we repair rotting wood shingles; apply epoxy coating, and more. We’re not just a painting company, but all we do revolves around the painting business. It’s all tied in.” Cohen and his team have performed work PHOTO BY CHELSEY MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY capeplymouthbusiness.com | September 2018 | Cape & Plymouth Business 31 Feature Story on such well-known places as the Kennedy Compound, the Boston State House, Plimoth Plantation, Eastern Bank locations, most of the Plymouth Public Schools, and a variety of Plymouth, Carver and Plympton libraries, as well as more homes than they can count. They do projects both large and small. Giving back to his community is paramount to Cohen and, for years, he has donated to community-based charities of all shapes and sizes. He loves to entertain and throw parties, and he has taken this particular pastime and turned it into big charitable business for many important causes. “After 9/11, a friend came to me looking for a donation for the New York Firefighters’ families. I had a Halloween party coming up, and decided to bump the ticket prices just a bit to be able to make a donation,” he said. “We ended up raising about $1,000 for his charity. It felt really good to be able to do that.” But doing multiple benefits on his own became overwhelming so, in 2014, he created the Jeff Cohen Charitable Foundation. The foundation’s focus is raising funds for the people in the community who need it most. Cohen’s annual Halloween parties have grown into celebrations of epic proportions. They’ve become not-to-be-missed social events, and continue to benefit the community in many ways. This year, the Jeff Cohen Charitable Foundation Halloween Benefit will take place on Saturday, Oct. 20, at Memorial Hall in Plymouth, at 83 Court Street. Tickets are $20 each and they often sell out. “Last year, we had around 500 people at the Halloween party, which was up from the previous year,” said Cohen, “and we raised around $10,000 that night.” Sponsorships are always available and welcome. This full-costume event includes live music, a DJ, food, and silent auctions at a great, local venue. Cohen’s many fundraising events, along with his charitable foundation and his business, have supported such events and entities as Pilgrim Hall Museum, Project Arts Plymouth, Scituate Animal Shelter, the annual Fourth of July Parade in Plymouth, the Special Olympics of Cape Cod, Heidrea for Heroes, and the Plymouth Boys and Girls Clubs, among so many others. “I’m an event guy,” Cohen says. “I love to throw parties. If we can help benefit the community in doing so, then all the better.” When he’s not raising money for local charities, you can find him hosting bowling nights for his employees and their families, hanging out with his grandson (his daughter, Chelsey Mearls, is marketing director at One Stop), going on rock cruises and to concerts (he loves 80s rock!) or sporting events, traveling and, he said, “eternally searching for the next Mrs. Cohen.” Cohen added that One Stop Painting is always looking for talented, dedicated employees. “We have employees who have been here over 30 years,” he said. “We want long-term employees, and we offer full medical and dental. We’re always looking for good talent.”