John Flake, who started his business in 1979, has had his hand in a wide range of commercial projects over the past 33 years. Picking out the most challenging project is too difficult a task for Flake – “I think they’re all challenging,” he said – but choosing the project he enjoyed the most is easy.
“As you go through life and you look back at what you’ve done, the project that I am most proud of was not a development project,” Flake said. “I was a friend of (civil rights activist) Daisy Bates and in the 1980s she was having a hard time with her house. I worked with the Christian Ministerial Alliance and we got the home paid for. It is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Accomplishing that has meant a lot to me.”
Bates, who passed away in 1999, was a publisher and writer who played a leading role in the Little Rock integration crisis of 1957.
Flake was born and raised in Little Rock, graduating from Hall High School, later earning a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Illinois. He then earned a Masters in Business Administration from Babson College in Massachusetts, one of the first MBA programs to teach entrepreneurial studies.
Flake was born into the real estate business. His father started the Walthour-Flake Company in 1935, a residential-oriented real estate development in what was then considered the early stages of west Little Rock, an area that today is midtown Little Rock.
John Flake founded Flake and Company in October 1979. In 1983, the company began a project on its building at 425 W. Capitol Avenue in downtown Little Rock. During that project, Hank Kelley joined the company as a partner. “We really took off from there,” Flake said. “Hank is the greatest partner anybody could ever have. We work together very well.”
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