We can’t help but get nostalgic now that it’s fall, during our 30th year of business. It’s right around this time in 1987 when we moved into the first home we ever built together, a little cape in Raymond. I had found the blueprints to the house in a Better Homes & Gardens magazine when I was 16 and working in construction, and held onto them for years.
It was in those summer days of 1987 that Anne and I put our determination and work ethic to the test. I was still working long hours at the Jay Paper Mill as an electrician, and Anne was home with our two oldest kids. We worked tirelessly trying to keep everything going and still find time to work on the house. Framing walls without power tools, pulling fallen rafters back up with our truck, staining wood trim till we were dizzy from fumes, because we knew it would be worth it in the end.
I grew up learning the construction trade from my grandfather, William Griffith, a small town contractor in Pennsylvania. He not only taught me how to build a good house, but to be passionate about the trade. Mine and Anne’s family were such a help in the beginning, that when we decided to start the company I wanted it to have a name that would honor the influence of our families. So, one afternoon while working on the roof with my brother-in-law Dave Madsen, father-in-law Herluf Madsen, my uncle Terry Griffith, we came up with the name MGM Builders for Manning-Griffith-Madsen.
The first years of the company, we worked hard and learned a lot. I juggled my job at the mill with general contracting and Anne began to design the houses we were building, after discovering she had an eye for it. We established ourselves as a company that valued the integrity of a structure and functionality of the design. There’s nothing like watching another family go through the process of creating their dream home like we had, and seeing their happiness once it was finished. Over 200 houses later and that’s still something we look forward to.
That little cape in Raymond is still there today, we drove by recently just to see. Since then we’ve lived in seven other homes, raised our three kids, and now have four grandchildren. There are many lessons we’ve learned in that time, but one of the most important, and something I've been heard repeating countless times to my children, is that your name is more valuable than your wealth. That belief has been a cornerstone in navigating through the hurdles and challenges we've encountered with our business. We’re passionate about what we do. And we do it with character and integrity. We’re never going to be perfect, but it’s how you fix your issues, fair and reasonable, that makes the difference. - Mike