EVERETT — Early in his accounting career, Jerry Murphy helped swing a few high-stakes business deals.
When Seafirst Bank sold itself to BankAmerica Corp. in 1983, he was on the Seattle-based bank’s mergers-and-acquisitions team.
“I was used to buying businesses for other people,” said Murphy, who specialized in purchase and sale audits. “I made sure the books looked good before a company was bought and sold.”
When he decided to buy his own his business, he wanted no part of anything risky or trendy.
“I wanted to find a boring business — one that had been around for a long time,” Murphy said.
Greenshields Industrial Supply in Everett checked all the boxes, and it was for sale.
By the time Murphy bought the business, Greenshields had already passed the half-century mark.
Today, it’s almost 70 years old.
In 1953, Frank Greenshields founded the business as a logging supply store. The Greenshields family ran the store at 710 N. Broadway Ave. in Everett until Murphy’s 2005 purchase.
The company supplies excavators, landscapers and bridge and road crews with hydraulic hoses, lifting gears and cables and hooks.
“Our main business is hose assemblies and rigging assemblies. The rigging is for construction and consists of chain, wire rope and nylon slings for lifting and tying down loads.”
Customers include local municipalities, Sound Transit, the Snohomish County Public Utility District and the U.S. Navy.
The firm also sells two-wheel garden tractors, tools, safety supplies and commercial lawnmowers.
“We are are an industrial supply general store,” Murphy said.
Here’s what Murphy didn’t do when he purchased the company: Change the name.
As an accountant and auditor, he had seen people and companies change the names of the businesses they’d acquired.
“Often that didn’t work,” he said. “The business would lose its identity and fail.”
“Greenshields’ reputation is so well known. It’s known around the country. I was careful to preserve that,” he said.
He also kept all the employees. “We sell hoses and rigging gear — that takes experienced staff,” Murphy said.
“When I bought the business it had eight employees. Four had been there more than 10 years. We held onto all of them,” he said.
“We distinguish ourselves by quickly making assemblies when the customer comes in the store. They rarely have to leave and come back — we work fast!” he said.
“Everyone is fighting Amazon. Most of our business is service and on-the-spot assembly. That’s something they never will do.”
Janice Podsada; firstname.lastname@example.org; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods