Emanuel Fernandes started Fernandes Lumber in 1958, and now his son, daughter and son-in-law are carrying on his vision.
“We’ve taken it over and of course since we’ve been here we’ve gone through a lot of challenges,” said Ken Fernandes, Emanuel’s son.
Emanuel Fernandes works with his brother-in-law and sister, Tom and Dianna Farrell in the store.
While it looks like a well-built and efficient building standing on Depot Street now, Fernandes said it wasn’t always the case.
His father originally started the store from an old produce stand and kept expanding as his business grew.
“He would build a little addition if he could afford it,” he said. “The old store was inefficient so that’s why we built this building.”
The new building was finished in 2005.
Tom Farrell said he first started working for Emanuel in the 1970s after he came back from serving in Vietnam.
“I came over first when I came back from Vietnam so I could finish my college education and then I married his daughter and joined the business aster teaching for seven years at Hingham [Elementary].”
Fernandes, a principal in Norton for many years, also has a background in education. Farrell said that he originally convinced Fernandes to join the business in 1986.
“I found that the business was doing so well I asked Ken if he would leave his principal ship in Norton and he did,” he said.
They both laughed when they talked about Emanuel.
Even as he aged, Emmanuel Fernandes never stopped working at the store.
“My father really basically passed away a year ago he was 99,” he said. “He worked even into his 90s. He’d show up every day to work, and that was his style. He built a business on quality and service and that’s what we try to continue to this day.”
Fernandes said that his father originally opened the store after he realized that the area needed a distribution center for building materials. He said his father was a construction worker and realized how time consuming it was to go to the docks in Providence to get the materials needed in the area.
“He built all the Mobil gas stations on the east coast and then he just decided that maybe this was the venture to try,” he said.
A half-century later, his venture is still paying off.