Lost Art of the Handshake

Posted by Lance Atkins on April 19, 2011 4 Comments

“My first business loan from the bank was done with just a handshake.”

In a rural farm town of Colorado, my father started selling tractors in 1971. Leon Atkins Motors started peddling Minneapolis Moline tractors, then Ford cars, and the rest is history. Recently, 40 years later, he sold his business.

But wait...his business was bank-financed with only a handshake as a promise? That banker, without legal contract, trusted his word?

I grew up working at Leon Atkins Motors, and more than I remember the farm equipment, I remember the people. I got to see a lot of handshakes. I got to waste a lot of time shooting the breeze with farmers. They’re always worried about too little rain and they’re also good people working hard to make a living. We left the keys in the parked car and always waved when passing on the street. It’s as if there was a hint of “I trust you” built into everyday life.

The world, and business, has become a convoluted place. Contracts, rules, and worry are all hard to avoid. Don’t forget to pay your cell phone bill and don’t be 5 minutes late to your next meeting.

Being a local business in Golden, CO, we have gotten to experience some handshake deals lately. We're working with Bill, a local cabinet maker. He helped us with a big project and only said, “We’ll figure out the numbers later.” We are brainstorming an urban-wood-recycling project with Jonathan, a local tree trimmer. He gave us some amazing wood to play with and asked for nothing, just a “See you soon.” Friends, local business owners, and complete strangers have been coming out of the woodwork to help. We can't help but feel like we get to be a part of a family.

Let’s bring back handshakes.


Comments (4 Comments)

I have never seen these rules in print, only communicated by word of mouth, a hand on the suoeldhr, or THAT look when you have slipped up. I was not only corrected by my parents, but friends, neighbors, and teachers, and I am so glad that I was. I am retired, looking back on life and missing my life in the South. I watch the news, interviews and such on t.v. and am constantly amazed at how people interrupt each other. Along with proper manners, to me the twin is proper English. Our language has been mangled by those who should know better, but aided by the computer.Your recommendation for thank you notes is so valuable. I was taught that they were your best friend and should always be sent in a timely manner. You would not believe how few I have received for graduation and wedding gifts, most of them were late, in horrible manuscript, not cursive and full of misspelled words. The ultimate disgrace and honor at the same time is to receive a thank you written in perfect English executing proper spelling and punctuation by a foreigner. Obviously other cultures respect and honor a gentility that has escaped our modern generation AND their parents.

Posted by Dilawar on December 26, 2012

I’m imperssed! You’ve managed the almost impossible.

Posted by Nook on July 17, 2011

Great title, great values. I hope to shake your hand and share my company’s vision. Keep up the dream, you have another supporter.


Posted by Lyle on July 07, 2011

This is very exciting and the first time I’ve actually seen your product…IMPRESSIVE! I can hardly wait to show Bill when he gets home tonight. We are excited about June 3rd! I’m enjoying your website! Love to both you and Nicole!

Posted by The Fueszs on May 06, 2011

People Who Talk With Us Are Awesome



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