Postcard from 1920s showing our original location on the right side of Brook Street in Wollaston.
Over 80 years, and still in the family.
I sat down recently with David Abbot to learn the history of Quincy's oldest continually operating floor covering store. He told me about his history with the company and what his father, Bill Abbott, also told him:
Our founder Laurie Gerald (Gerry) Henley was born in Nova Scotia and immigrated to the United States to start a new life. In the spring of 1938, he opened his store across from The Quincy Community United Methodist Church on Beale Street, Wollaston, MA; The space consisted of only 750 square feet of retail space, with a small warehouse around the corner.
Gerry was soon joined by his brother Sandy, and together they started to make a name for themselves in Wollaston. In 1941 after they outgrew their first location, Gerry moved the store to 5 Brook Street, off Newport Avenue.
The business continued to grow to a fleet of 10 trucks and crews. Bill Abbott met Gerry as a local youngster walking by the store on his way to school and they kept in close contact over the years. Gerry became the father figure that Bill was lacking, having been orphaned since 14.
After Bill graduated from North Quincy High School in 1953 and spent a few years in the Army, he went to work for his adoptive father in 1958. He started his employment from the bottom up, from trainee to installer to finally salesman. When the business was ready for a transition, Gerry retired in 1977 to Florida and Bill took full control of the company.
David Abbott started at Henley's in 1972 sweeping floors and emptying waste baskets. In 1976, he was sent out on installations as a trainee and got a taste of what was to come. He worked while finishing at North Quincy High School in 1978, through 2 years at Bentley College, and graduated from Massasoit Community College in 1982. Upon graduating, he went full time into the business and continued the tradition.
In 1995 Bill retired to Florida, just a few miles from Gerry. David continued with Gerry and Bill's tradition of high-quality installations and high-quality products. Sadly, on January 21, 2009, Gerry passed away, but Henley's still survives, competing against the big box stores and on-line companies.
In April of 2022, David passed on the torch to me. I have spent many years mentoring and thriving under David’s guidance, and he has been a positive father figure in my life. I am honored to be able to take on the tradition and continue to see the business thrive.
Gerry, Bill, David, and I all have the same philosophy in business: Offer a good product, install it well, and stand behind your work.
With our product knowledge, attention to detail, experienced installers, we hope to serve your home or business flooring needs and make it part of our family business.
Thanks for your time,
Joshua J. O’Connor