I guess I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart. Whether that meant cutting neighbors’ lawns or my paper route when I got into my teens, if it involved providing products and services that people needed, I was all over it.
And so after graduating from the University of Rhode Island in 1983, it was a natural fit for me to open a kitchen showroom and start a remodeling business.
I loved it. Not only was it an opportunity to call the shots and build something of my own, because I was inside my clients’ homes all day, I got to know them, their children, their neighbors…even their pets. The work had a real personal touch to it, something which I came to like as much as the remodeling itself.
I’d probably still be doing kitchen remodeling today had it not been for a weekend trip back home to visit my parents. The minute I walked in the door my dad took me right back outside to show me the Gutter Helmet brand gutter covers that had just been installed.
He was thrilled—by the innovative design, the quality of the product, and the fact that, as he put it, “I’ll never clean my gutters again.”
Three weeks later, I made the decision to sell the kitchen company and open Gutter Helmet of New England.
From there, things took off quickly. Using my dad’s ladder and his old 1975 El Camino van, I made sales calls on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays and handled installations on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I was happy as a one-man band but eventually, things got so busy that I was changing my clothes in the van on lunch breaks just so I could squeeze in a few extra sales calls on installation days.
Soon I hired a dedicated salesperson. And then another installer. And then another salesperson. We just kept growing and growing.
And although I spent the first five years in the field doing installations (I’ve done thousands at this point), eventually I switched my focus from doing the work to growing the team, managing the company, and teaching my approach to my employees.
Along the way, thanks to the trust we built with our customers, people started asking me to do other related work in their homes. And so now, almost three decades later, the business that started with a ladder, a truck, and a single product has grown into one of New England’s premier home improvement companies that, in addition to Gutter Helmet, also carries high-quality products including; Ice Defense, GAF Roofing, SoftWash Roof Cleaning, and MassSave Insulation.
It’s been a personal thrill to watch the business grow from something I once ran entirely out of my tiny apartment—today we are a full-service home improvement company with tens of thousands of satisfied customers.