What’s in a Name? At Colfax Creek, It’s a Story

I am often asked, “Where did Colfax Creek come from?”

I wanted a name that was relevant to me and to the path that led me to where I am today.  I spent months brainstorming names and ruling them out because they didn’t fit my story.  That’s what a name does…it tells a story.  It may be passed from generation to generation, bestowed in some way that represents your family’s history.  That’s what I wanted for this firm…a meaningful name that represents my priorities, values, and heritage.

Finding the Right Name

At first, I spent months on a running list of possible names based on streets and natural features in my adopted state of Michigan.  But that’s just it…my path to Michigan began outside of ‘The Mitten’.  It began in my hometown of Colfax, Illinois, a small farming community with a population of 1,036.  A quick Google search of Colfax led me to Colfax Corporation, a publicly traded industrial business.  I knew I would cause too much confusion if I just used Colfax; the name needed to be more distinct.

That’s how I ended up on Google Maps, zooming over my hometown.  I began to note that the little stream that ran through town actually had a name, Colfax Creek.  I knew that stream well…I just never knew it had a name.

Down by the Crick

You see, I grew up on a corn and soybean farm three miles from town and “the Crick”, as we called that stream of water, ran along the end of our corn fields about a half-mile behind our home.  The Crick was a magical place in my childhood.  I passed many hours fishing, wading, shooting my BB gun, building forts, camping, and floating inner tubes with my siblings and friends.  It was a childhood paradise.  Those moments made up an awesome childhood experience that cultivated my imagination, self-reliance, and intrinsic motivation.  It was a destination after a hot day of walking beans, shucking sweet corn, and observing my father and his fellow farmers work together to produce something significant.  My upbringing in small town America, where everyone knows each other and reputations are built over decades and lost overnight, taught me that relationships matter.

I had my name…Colfax Creek.  It is a constant reminder of small town America where life was viewed with a long-term approach and based on the relationships that you formed whether for business or friendship.

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