Darwin East and his daughter Cammy Brown purchased the Maricopa Business Center on Dec. 21 for the East Family Trust. Photo by Jim Headley

Darwin East, of Chandler, purchased the Maricopa Business Center on Dec. 21.

East, the leader of the East Family Trust, purchased the center with his three daughters, Carrie Lynn East, Cammy Lynn Brown and Catharine Lynn Bolton.

“I have three wonderful daughters,” he said. “Someday it will be theirs.”

Darwin lived in Maricopa before moving to Chandler a few years ago. He said he purchased the Maricopa Business Center to consolidate some of his investments and get them closer to home.

He recently sold his commercial property in Peoria, leaving an opening for a new investment.

“This opportunity came up and we felt like they had lived in Maricopa and it’s not far from home. We decided that this was a good fit for what he wanted to do,” Brown said. “He has property in Washington, also. We are selling that to have one local place that is closer to home. He wants to have some involvement. The two places he had – he wasn’t able to go and see the property.”

East said he’s owned and developed 61 pieces of agricultural property in the Fallbrook, California, area, before building a nine-house subdivision in Washington state.

“With the profit off the nine houses, I built an office building in Sequim, Washington. We’re trying to sell that now and put it in on this too,” Darwin said.

East descends from a family of Oklahomans, though he was born in California. He spent most of his life as an agricultural entrepreneur, growing avocados and kiwis but also branching out to spraying, farm supply and even asphalt.

“I had eight different businesses in California,” East said. “I worked about 80 to 90 hours a week. I always made sure that I was putting my family first. We went to church on Sunday. I always took them on a vacation. I started by developing and managing avocado groves – and citrus and kiwi.”

Because “a wise old man” once told him not to put everything in one basket, he diversified into landscaping and grove management for others, including the Walt Disney family.

“I had about 3,500 acres that I managed,” East said. “I couldn’t get people to do the spray work, so I went into the spray business. I couldn’t get people to do the tractor work, so I did weed abatement for about five different towns. People wanted paving done, and I couldn’t get a good contractor, so I started an asphalt business. The Disneys wanted to buy fertilizer, so we said, ‘Let’s start our own farm supply.’”

He said his company was the largest kiwi grower in Southern California at one point.

“Family comes first,” East said, adding he sees Maricopa as a very good investment.

“I see the future, and Maricopa is very good. You drive down the main street out there, and it is very busy most of the time,” he said.

Brown said her father’s approach to life is family, church and community.

“He likes to be involved in the community,” she said. “Even though at his age, he’s probably not going to get involved in city council, but he recognizes the importance of community, supporting your community and being involved. That has been the story of his life.”

InMaricopa offices are in Maricopa Business Center.