Louis Grossman immigrates to Boston. After buying a horse and wagon, he starts a traveling salvage business, collecting and selling junk throughout the area.
In 1900 Louis' oldest sons, Reuben (14) and Jacob (12), come into the business. The company, now called L. Grossman and Sons, begins selling used furniture and acquires its first property, an abandoned monument manufacturing plant on Jackson Street in Quincy.
Selling more and more lumber and building materials allows the firm to purchase a new supply yard on Federal Avenue in Quincy (1915). Five years later, a site on Granite Street is acquired.
With the 1923 arrival of Sidney, all four of Louis sons are involved in the family business. The focus continues to shift away from junk and toward the lumber and building materials operation. In 1928, following Louis retirement, the firm becomes L. Grossman Sons, Inc., and the first branch lumber yard opens in Billerica.
The lumber and building materials operation continues to thrive and the company salvages more abandoned properties. After a devastating hurricane in 1938, the U.S. government buys damaged timber from distressed landowners and contracts with Grossman to transform the dead trees into usable lumber.
The Grossman Surplus Company is incorporated in 1946 and sets up shop in Braintree to store and sell unused war supplies from dismantled army camps, naval installation and shipyards. The massive yard attracts not only customers, but also sightseers by the thousands.
In response to the acute postwar housing shortage, Grossman's buys and transforms surplus Quonset huts and U.S. Army barracks into livable, short-term housing for young couples. In 1958, the company launches the "Build-It-Yourself" program, giving homeowners all the supplies and guidance needed to build their own house.
In 1962, the company enters the new "cash-and-carry" field, which represents the origins of today's home improvement industry. The test store in Wallingford, CT proves successful, leading to the opening of similar stores elsewhere in New England. By the decade's end, the company operates 81 building materials stores in the Northeast.
Grossman Lumber (the operating business) is sold to Evans Products Company, but much of the company management still consists of Grossman family members. In addition, the family maintains ownership of most of the real estate and land, leasing it back to the operating business.
Grossman's Industrial Properties, the real estate-owning entity, enjoys continued financial growth throughout the decade.
In 1980, Morton Grossman and son Louis amicably acquire the real estate interests of the other family members by selling the majority of the lumber branches to a real estate investment trust. The Grossman Companies, Inc., a real estate management, investment and development firm, is born. Key investments this decade include Braintree Executive Park (Braintree, MA) and the McClellan Highway air freight industrial properties (East Boston).
The company continues to acquire property and manages through the real estate downturn of the early '90s. Key investments include 313 Washington St. (Newton, MA), 480 Sprague St. (Dedham, MA) and The Opera Building (Manchester, NH).
The Grossman Companies continues adding to its diversified, New England-concentrated portfolio. The 2004 purchase of an industrial building at 150 McClellan Highway in East Boston is followed by an expansion and conversion into an institutional-quality, 1,100 unit self-storage facility.
2009 - 2011
The fifth generation of Grossman's begins to make its mark in the business with the arrival of Louis' sons David (2009) and Jacob (2011). Each joins the company with seven years of experience in the real estate industry.
The Grossman Companies acquires over a dozen New England properties and revives its long-dormant private lending business. Reflecting the family's history and investment philosophy, over 1.3 million square feet of commercial property spanning all major product types is added throughout Southern New England. The private loan portfolio consists primarily of first mortgage bridge loans to residential builders.