The home improvement specialists have built a reputation of excellence since 1917.
By Matthew Wentworth
Photography by Derrick Martinez
“We strive to make our customers happy.” That’s the simple goal for the owner of McGlinch & Sons Co. home improvement specialists.
The late Leander McGlinch founded the company near Livernois and Elmhurst on Detroit’s west side in 1917. Leander’s grandson, 79-year-old Michael McGlinch of Farmington Hills, is now president of the company. Michael’s two sons, Ryan, 42, of Livonia, and Brendan, 38, of Farmington Hills, are vice presidents. Staying in business for over 100 years is an accomplishment the McGlinches attribute to several things. “We offer paramount service,” says Michael McGlinch. “All of our men are certified. We do excellent work.”
The McGlinches do just about anything: kitchens, bathrooms, windows, doors, roofing, siding, gutters, you name it. They’ve completed projects for famous clients, including singer Aretha Franklin, University of Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh and legendary handyman Glenn Haege. They’ve also repaired old mansions in Detroit’s Indian Village and did a lot of work for the longtime appliance giant Fretter. However, 95 percent of their business is residential.
Michael McGlinch began going to work with his dad when he was about 8 years old. Building homes was a lot different in the late 1940s. “It was all hand nailed, hand sawed, hand drilled and hand planed,” he says. Michael’s sons went to work with him at similarly young ages. “I started going there to have something to do in the summertime,” Brendan says. “Eventually, I got to work with a crew to hone my skills.”
Brendan has a daughter and a baby on the way, and Ryan has four sons. But is the fifth generation interested in carrying on the family business? “We aren’t going to pressure them, but it would make us happy,” Brendan says. However, even if someone is born into the family, he or she still has to earn their role in the company, Michael says.
McGlinch & Sons is a family business with 54 employees. Among them, Brendan says his mother, aunt, uncle and two cousins also work there. “It’s nice to be part of the family business — what my great-grandfather started many years ago,” he says.
One thing that’s helped McGlinch & Sons stay in business for so many years? The referrals. Some stretch several generations. “I would recommend them to anybody,” says Mike Senko of Novi. About eight years ago, he hired McGlinch & Sons to work on his house. They installed a new roof and also added a bathroom vent, free of charge, in the attic. “They went above and beyond,” Senko says. “It still looks great today.”
A year ago, an 80-foot pine tree fell on Senko’s second home in Pentwater, near Ludington on Lake Michigan. The damage to the 3,500-square-foot home was extensive, including several holes in the roof. Senko didn’t consider calling anyone else. Yet, the McGlinches usually don’t work so far from their base in Metro Detroit.
“I wanted Brendan,” Senko says. Brendan agreed and took a crew, staying in a hotel for three days to get the repairs done.
“I 100 percent would recommend them,” he says. “They’re dependable. They’re honest. I had them do my mother’s house in Farmington Hills. I had them do my father-in-law’s house in Livonia. I’ve never had a regret. I’ve kept a stack of cards. I give them to my neighbors whenever they ask. They’re the best.”
McGlinch & Sons uses high-quality materials that might make the bill higher than competitors. But, to the clients, it’s worth it. “You get what you pay for,” Senko says.
Michael McGlinch agrees. “When we’re done, we’re proud of the job, and the customer is proud of the job. We strive to satisfy our customers.” One of the best parts of the job is the day-to-day change, Brendan says. Workers constantly have a new project that’s different from the last. “I’m not doing the same thing, every day,” he says. “It’s satisfying to create these spaces that’ll last through time.”
Brendan knows that he and his brother, and whoever follows them, have a lot to live up to. “I’m proud to be able to carry on the tradition and be successful at it,” he says. “I’m proud to have a family business to transfer from one generation to the next.”
Though Michael McGlinch is approaching 80, he isn’t about to retire anytime soon. “I’ll probably be in the office into my 90s,” he says. “As long as I can walk up and down the stairs.”
McGlinch & Sons Co.
29565 Grand River Ave., Farmington Hills
West side: 313-278-2777
East side: 586-776-8912
Read more from SEEN in the Family Business: