The Massachusetts Retail Lumber Dealers Association (MRLDA) recently gathered for its 123rd annual meeting where Tony Shepley of Shepley Wood Products was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
The MRLDA Lifetime Achievement Award honors an individual for their cumulative contributions to the lumber industry. It is a special recognition to a person who has truly “made a difference” in the business and has made a significant and measurable impact to the lumber industry and to the communities in which they serve. It is not awarded every year, but rather, only when a person is nominated who fits the criteria.
With no experience in the lumber and building materials industry, a used lumber truck, $4,000, and an idea that there was a need for another lumberyard in Hyannis, Tony Shepley and a partner started Shepley Wood Products in 1978.
At that time, the idea of an upstart lumberyard competing with the six established competitors in a 10-mile radius was preposterous enough that the other yards didn’t take it very seriously. Today, Shepley is the only lumberyard remaining in the Hyannis area with additional locations in Wellfleet and Nantucket with over 160 employees.
Shepley has been a leader in both the industry and his community. He served on the MRLDA board of directors from 1992 to 2001, including one term as president, and the Northeastern Retail Lumber Association board from 2007-2013, including one term as chairman. He has also served on the board for the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, Cape & Islands United Way, and the Rehabilitation Hospital of Cape Cod and Islands (now Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital).
Shepley’s commitment to doing the right thing is reflected in Shepley’s philanthropic approach, which he refers to as, “paying your Civic Rent.
“I view ‘civic rent’ as a social obligation that we should pay back to our community both personally and professionally. The center of every family is the home. Without safe, stable, and affordable housing, any family is at risk” says Shepley.
In 1996, Shepley hosted its first charitable golf tournament, The Shepley Wide Open. Now in its 26th year, this annual event has raised over $1,000,000 for organizations on the Cape and Islands.
In 2021, Kodiak Building Partners acquired Shepley Wood Products. Shepley moved into his new role as President and is excited to lead the company he founded into the next stage of its journey.
“We have always said that we were in the people business and yes, we sell lumber and building materials. We are an industry of relationship sellers, where your word is still your bond,” he said. “Our company has always focused on selling to building professionals and, in some cases, I am dealing with my third generation of customer. I have had the same job title for 45 years. My goal is to coach and mentor and to carefully choose the times to get out of the way of others to let them grow and prosper”
A Boston native, Tony has lived in Hyannisport since 1971. He and his wife Lorraine also spend time in Bethel, Maine. They have two sons, Niles and Cole. Niles works in operations for Shepley’s Nantucket branch and Cole is in his senior year of college, studying architecture.