Although 1966 marked the formal start of The Reed Corporation, we actually had our inception – as “Reed Brothers Enterprises” as early as 1960.
Encouraged by their parents Bill and Edith Reed, 2 young entrepreneurs – 12 year old Wes and 10 year old Biz (aka “The Reed Boys”) delivered newspapers, mowed lawns, cleaned yards and shoveled snow in their neighborhood.
Edith was always interested in horticulture… we developed our “Roots” in landscaping, so to speak, at a very early age. With our Mother in the lead, and as a family, we planted, watered and nurtured several hundred seedling conifers… which would eventually become our own “Tree Farm.” Techniques learned and skills honed in the care, harvesting & the transplanting of the trees would serve us well down the road.
By the mid 60s the boys purchased a trailer to haul equipment and Bill bought a station wagon to tow it. The Reed Boys’ show was officially “ON THE ROAD” – a big step forward for the fledgling company. Bill kept the books and taught us business acumen & finance. Edith answered the phone and always had a good meal ready at the end of long work days.
Our parents endorsed our entrepreneurial endeavors but stressed the importance of a good education. Wes entered Northeastern University in 1965 and Biz followed suit a couple of years later… and, all the while the little part time business continued to grow, in fact, so much so, that management of the business would be Biz’ Northeastern co-op job.
Upon graduation in 1969, Wes continued his education and embarked upon a career in dentistry – all the while keeping a hand in the family business. Biz would earn his own gravitas – parlaying a Northeastern business degree into a lifetime of management and customer relations.
By the late 60s, state-of-the-art mowing equipment would be needed and… “If you were mowing with a ‘Locke’ you had arrived.” In what was a benchmark, Apple Hill resident and restauranteur Angelo “Al” Pierro entrusted us with maintaining his well-manicured property. Soon we’d be caring for his neighbors’ yards, as well, in one of Lynnfield’s most prestigious neighborhoods – where we would work for the better part of the next 20 years.
Two improbable events in the 1970s helped establish “The Boys” as respected members of the Lynnfield landscape “contractors” society – the first of a new generation of (much) younger “players.” After the immensely popular Boston Bruins won Stanley Cups in 1970 & 1972 noteworthy stars purchased homes in and around Lynnfield (Ken Hodge, Phil Esposito, Ace Bailey to name a few.) They all needed landscapers and the boys took on (and learned how to do) every project… experience was gained and new equipment (for us) purchased.
Snow removal was the winter work for The Reed Corporation… “The blizzard of ’78” provided daunting challenges. But, with a used pickup truck, a little – vintage Ford Bronco, a rickety old two-wheel drive farm tractor and a lot of determination we made it through – and because we did, our snow list burgeoned and the calls for landscape services flooded in. Our reputation for reliability had been established… and the number of accounts grew.
We were grateful for Dad’s help in managing the finances… and for the mentoring we received from the uniquely gifted and multi-talented Pat DiPietro… and from respected industry stalwart and Lynnfield icon, Roger Lummus, Jr.
In time we became one of the largest landscape maintenance operations in Lynnfield… priding ourselves on the quality of our work, our detail oriented culture, and the caliber of our staff. To this day many of our former employees who learned well under our tutelage are successful business owners or professionals.
Mark joined us full time during the ’80s after graduating from Boston University and gaining experience in several business ventures. His keen eye for landscape – hardscape design was matched by his expertise as an equipment operator.
By the early 1990s Landscape Design-Build was a very crowded field locally. Septic System Design & Build would provide many more business opportunities… Biz took and passed the exam for certification (at Dad’s urging) and we were on our way to a whole new arena. The niche we established was – the preservation (and enhancement) of the landscapes of customers whose properties underwent the upheaval of Septic System work. During the next ten years our company was involved in many challenging projects in Lynnfield and surrounding towns and all up through Cape Ann.
It was, in fact the experience in granite wall building gained while constructing the retaining walls of the leaching fields on some exclusive Cape Ann properties that transformed us into who we are now.
The procuring of… and the building with historic granite eventually led to the selling of some of the materials. But then, of course there came the need to find space large enough to inventory the granite. So, for a period of time our company led a very nomadic existence. Then the recession hit in the late 2000s… home sales slowed to a crawl and Title V septic work was virtually non-existent… Dark days indeed. We needed another new direction – and, like The Phoenix… “rising from ashes” – Olde New England Granite came about… and eventually we settled into a new spacious home on Melvin Street in Wakefield, much thanks to businessmen Charlie and Ron Masiello.
From a very modest start, some 50 years ago, the small landscape contracting business has morphed into a leader in the sale of historic hardscape materials… with a customer base of nearly ten thousand, many of whom come from far and wide to visit “The Granite Gallery.”
Today, while our business focus has certainly changed – what has not changed is our commitment to honesty, integrity and reliability… instilled in us by our parents Bill and Edith all those years ago.