Celebrating 35 Years

A Retrospective Video & Historical Highlights Timeline

This video was shown at the 35th Celebration event on May 24, 2018. Check out the party details and photos on our special celebration blog.


John spends his teenage years bigger and better building tree houses during the summers. It is there that he catches the fever for building things.


John’s first construction job from his dad came at age 15. He renovated a chicken coop at the Princeton Minnesota Farm into an entrepreneurial “New Zealand White” rabbit business.


John begins framing new homes and trimming a few as a senior in high school. Murphy’s buy a bus and convert it to an insulation business on wheels; fixed odds and ends at an apartment building for the owner who was looking for cheap help.


John Worked for Good Value Homes and Covert Covert Construction. The owner introduced John to remodeling in a more formal way, working mostly in St. Paul area into the early 1980’s.


John decides to formalize the remodeling business with the name John Murphy Builders while working out of the mobile home in Mounds View that he and his new bride Sherry live in.


John’s father, Herb helps John and Sherry work on their first home in Fridley. Younger brother Dan starts as a carpenter in the business but loses interest in working outdoors in the heat of summer and cold of winter so he leaves to sell autos a few years later.


John offices out of the basement in the Fridley home and is seen below with his son Ben.


Youngest brother Nathan also joins the team as a carpenter, first part-time during college and then full time. After becoming an accomplished carpenter, Nathan later spends some years as a Project Manager. Sherry joins John as the part-time office manager in their new Fridely home.


Murphy Bros. begins a trajectory of steady growth, beginning with the hiring of carpenter Colin Jones, who came here from New Zealand. Known for his unconventional problems solving, Colin is still with us today.


Lynn’s Happy Place

Murphy Bros. not only gave Lynn Geadelmann’s 1967 Roseville home a new lease on life over more than a decade of remodeling projects. The new living environments and easy-care exterior it created also seem to have served as an elixir for Lynn herself.

“We never dreamed that we would have the big high windows and the high ceiling in the kitchen. John knew I liked the outside, and when I am in the kitchen I feel like I am outside. I see the moon at night and the neighbor’s trees. I see in every direction. It makes me happy...




Murphy Bros. is building a steady base of clients averaging about 25-30 per year. John finds time to build his second home in New Brighton, which becomes the new home office for the company. Contractor Licensing is brand new to Minnesota and Murphy Bros is in the first round of companies with license number 3416.


The company moves into new offices at 1613 93rd Ln. NE., Blaine, MN and upgrades the company name to Murphy Bros. Building & Remodeling Co.


Following his success in auto sales, Dan Murphy returns to the company to ply his skills at remodeling sales. Within a few years he moves on to pursue Real Estate as his next adventure.

(Right: John is flanked by brothers Dan & Nate)


Dan Flaherty (left) joins the firm as the first full-time painter and eventually establishes the paint and fine finishing division.


Murphy Bros. continues to expand, hiring key carpenters, Mark Arntzen and Shawn Ilstrup to join verteran carpetner Rick Fox, as the new century arrives.


John is perfecting the design/build process, hiring Cherie Poissant among other full-time, dedicated staff to both sell and bring greater design emphasis for clients, now averaging 50 a year. Poissant design wins first National CotY award for Murphy Bros. in 2005.


Jonah Smith arrives on the scene, marries John & Sherry’s daughter Nikki, and soon moves from carpenter to design/ build consultant role. John Builds his Linwood Lake home.


"He put the cable guy in his place!"

Boston native Geoff Murphy jokes that he and wife, Alison, contacted Murphy Bros. for their waterfront remodeling back in 2007 because it was a name they thought they could trust. Understandable.

The couple says they will never forget the hard-working and helpful crew members who contributed to their project.Like Sean, the lead carpenter, who put the cable guy in his place when he was hassling Alison and doing sloppy work one day. “I was home with the kids and the cable guy was being rude. Sean just stepped in and put him in his place,” she recalled...




The recession hits and the head count drops from 34 employees to 14. It’s a red year and a very blue year. John has a new appreciation for the needy nature of infrastructure, which unfortunately can’t be turned on and off at will like a yogurt machine.


Murphy Bros. continues to add back staff and receive recognition for the best of their work. These efforts bring a number of awards over the next 5 years.


Multiple Awards for a Most Special Eden Prairie Remodel

When Murphy Bros. remodeled John Dockter’s and Cindy Vavra’s Eden Prairie home, the focus was on creating fun entertainment spaces with wow factor that would delight hosts and guests alike. And we were among the first to experience it.

“The whole process had gone so well and we had made so many friends within the organization that we felt we wanted to do something special for them and show our appreciation,” John explained. “The quality of the work was incredible...


MBROS 35th - Dockter-Vavra 4-2-18.mp3


Brian and Jenny contacted John Murphy back in the fall of 2013 to add a second floor and update the main level of Jenny’s childhood home. With four active kids now ages 5 through 14, the Fridley family’s appreciation for Murphy Bros.’ quality craftsmanship has only grown.

If they have one regret is that they didn’t stretch for “Cadillac” plan that would have added even more space over the garage or off the back of the home.“We doubled the living space, but it still gets a little tight with six of us in the great room, Brian said...




As the economy recovers, Mark Sass offers to sell John his business one Saturday afternoon. Short and sweet, John accepts the offer with the caveat that Ivan and any other staff who desire to stay will continue on under the Murphy brand. Ivan and Jamie join Murphy Bros. and the staff continues to grow in both Paint & Fine Finishing & Design/Build areas.


The national remodeling magazine, Qualified Remodeler, recognized Murphy Bros. Designers & Remodelers with its 2015 Master Design Award for Specialty Rooms/Niche Spaces.

The gold-winning project was the basement wine room Murphy Bros. designed and built for John Dockter and Cindy Vavra. The MN Chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI-MN) recognized Murphy Bros. as its Contractor of the Year(Interior Remodeling under $150,000) for the project last fall.


The Moores were not your typical remodeling clients. Eric had worked in the lumber industry most of his career and Mary Pat is an artist with a keen sense of color and scale. They knew what they wanted to achieve when they bought their lake-view home.

Aging in place was paramount as Murphy Bros. approached the remodeling design. That includes a wider hallway and doors, brighter lights, and dual railings to the lower level. Mary Pat noted that Murphy Bros. also designed the front entry to accommodate a ramp if her arthritis worsens. But she drew the line at the shower...




New South Metro Display Center Opens

With the Sass acquisition complete, Murphy Bros. opens a new design center in the Fall at the old Sass location in Chanhassen, and expands into the south metro market.

(Right: Grand opening, John thanking guests, flanked by Sherry Murphy and design/build consultant Jeff Robinson and members of the SouthWest Metro Chamber of Commerce.)

New Project Management System Launched

A new cloud-based project management system, BuilderTrend,® is integrated as the next innovation to support significant growth expected in the next few years.


Murphy Wins BBB Ethics Award

Of all the awards bestowed in 2017, the most prestigious was the BBB Torch Award for Ethics in Business. Out of 1,000 companies nominated, only 4 were chosen to receive this honor for outstanding performance in leadership, performance, team building and improvement.

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