The Massachusetts Retail Lumber Dealers Association (MRLDA) presented Michael, Gerard and Jack Moynihan, owners of Moynihan Lumber in Beverly, North Reading and Plaistow, N.H., the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award at its annual meeting Oct. 25 in Needham.
The award honors individuals for their cumulative contributions to the lumber industry as well as their local communities.
The Moynihans were raised in Saugus and got their start in the industry at very young ages, working odd jobs at their uncles’ lumber yard. After graduating from Saugus High School (Michael in 1954, Gerard in ’59 and Jack in ’63), each brother went on to graduate from the College of the Holy Cross (Michael was Class of ’58, Gerard ’63 and Jack ’67).
The Moynihans learned the value of hard work as young boys. One example was the neighborhood paper route, serviced for 13 straight years by a Moynihan brother. “It was our first lesson in customer service,” Gerard said. “If the paper was late, our mother started getting the phone calls.”
Their father, Michael, and uncles, Arthur and John, began working in lumber yards as early as 1918 with Arthur becoming a partner at Burnett & Moynihan in Revere and John becoming a partner at MacLeod & Moynihan in Watertown. Eventually, they wanted to become partners with each other and had the foresight to target the area north of Boston for the next wave of growth. They purchased the Reading Door and Window Co. located in the middle of a cornfield off of Chestnut Street in North Reading in 1959, and Moynihan Lumber was born.
Michael, who had helping his Uncle John run the Watertown yard, went to North Reading in 1960, when John passed away. By the early 1970s Gerard and Jack joined their brother full-time as Moynihan Lumber was poised for an exceptional period of growth.
In 1976, Moynihan Lumber became the first lumber yard in New England accepted by Ace Hardware. In 1981, a store was added to the property to feature Ace hardware products, tools, and paints, as well as a door and window showroom. Expansion of Moynihan Lumber continued as the family purchased a lumberyard in Beverly in 1986, and expanded to a third location in Plaistow, N.H. in 1995.
With three locations and 180 employees, Moynihan Lumber is thriving, thanks in large part to what the brothers call the six “goods” for success: good products, good prices, good service, good employees, good suppliers and good customers.
And don’t forget their loyal employees, many of whom have been with them for more than 30 years. “Our biggest asset is our people,” Michael said. “We have employees for a lifetime. Our oldest employee started in 1965. We are a family business, not just our family, but we employ families. People stay because they know we care.”
Moynihan Lumber recognizes its obligation to give back to the communities that have supported the company. Over the years it has sponsored numerous sports teams, community projects and other school programs. Foremost among them are the North Shore and Merrimack Valley Student-Athlete Awards which highlight student achievements in both athletics and academics, and the Meadow Brook Jimmy Fund Golf Classic, which will be celebrating its 30th year in June and has raised close to $800,000 for cancer research.
In 2003, the Agganis Foundation presented Gerard the Dr. Elmo Benedetto Athletics Award for his dedication to student-athletes. And in 2011, the Boy Scouts of America Minuteman Chapter honored the Moynihan Brothers with its Good Scout award for generously supporting Eagle Scout Leadership projects for more than 35 years. Moynihan Lumber has been providing a scholarship at North Reading High School for more than 30 years.
Michael and his wife, Kathleen live in Reading and have two children, Katie, and Michael Jr. Gerard, whose wife, Sandra, passed away in 2005, lives in North Reading and has three children, Shannon, Kerry, and Matthew, and three grandchildren. Jack and his wife, Hilda, live in Lynnfield and have two children, Christopher and Stefanie, and one grandchild.