By Cary Shuman
The name Kirshon has been a staple in the Chelsea business community for 70 years.
The Kirshon brothers, Abraham, Martin, and Russell started Kirshon Paint in 1946 at the same location where it stands today, 124 Pearl St.
Barry Kirshon, son of the late Abraham and Ruth Kirshon, has carried on the store’s tradition of excellence in the role of owner since 1988.
He understands well the family’s legacy and the outstanding role models that his father and uncles were in terms of running a business professionally and with the highest ethical standards.
“My father and his brothers ran the business and had great employees,” said Barry. “They built up a great clientele. They took care of their employees very well and had kept them on board for many years. They built up the business and I took over in 1988.”
Barry remembers being at the store after school and on Saturdays when he was 10 years old. “I came here and worked and helped my family in the business.”
Barry was well known in Chelsea as a student at the Shurtleff School and Chelsea High School before graduating from Huntington Prep. He received his college degree from Northeastern University, where he studied Business Administration, Business Management, and Marketing.
Those courses would seem a perfect foundation for running a business and they were. He started working at Kirshon Paint in 1979. His brother, Howard, worked alongside him, but he left the business to enter the field of electronics.
Now in his 28th year as the owner, Barry said the key ingredients to Kirshon Paint’s success are, “treating people fairly, treating the employees fairly having loyal, trustworthy employees, being good to the community and giving back to the community.”
There is no question that Barry has given back to Chelsea. His family has sponsored Chelsea Little League teams, donated to many local organizations, and supported events with his attendance and volunteerism.
Barry was a past president of the Chelsea Rotary Club and remains a 20-year member and Paul Harris Fellow. He has been a member of the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce for decades. The City of Chelsea honored Barry with an All-City Award as Businessman of the Year.
Barry is a beloved member of Temple Emmanuel where he is known for his generosity and kindness. For years, he has been an outstanding candlepin bowler and has played softball for the Rotary team.
The painting business has changed in the 70 years Kirshon has been in the city. Large national chains have brought competition but Kirshon Paint has maintained his loyal customer base.
“We are able to compete because we have better products, better service – having Benjamin Moore is a big plus because of the higher quality and lasting that Benjamin Moore provides,” said Barry. “We carry only quality products at reasonable prices and provide excellent service to our customers. Homeowners and property owners would rather deal with us because they have more confidence that we’re going to direct them with the right advice on how to use the products.”
Kirshon has become the place to go for Hollywood producers filming movies in the Boston area.
“Movie production companies buy their paint and supplies at our store,” said Kirshon. “We’ve done many of the movies that are filmed here, including Ted 1, Ted 2, the Equalizer and Ghostbusters. Our paint is being seen by millions of movie goers on the big screen.”
Has Barry met any of the movie stars?
“The only star that I’ve met is Kevin Spacey,” he replied.
- Bruce Mauch of Chelsea Clock and a past president of the Rotary Club, said Kirshon Paint’s sterling reputation is well deserved.
“Kirshon Paint is a great place to do business,” said Mauch. “They’re friendly, personable, and they have everything you need at a price that’s reasonable. He’s a great Rotary member and a pretty good golfer.”
Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson is another fan of Kirshon Paint.
“I’ve known Barry for many years and he has run a business that is second to none,” said Robinson. “I’d like to wish him continued success.”
Barry lauds his staff of outstanding employees, Ryan Mazin, Eddie Hernandez, Audy Hernandez, and David Padgett-Pino for their dedication and commitment to every customer.
In addition to the business’s anniversary, Barry has another very important celebration this year. He and his fiancée, Darlene Nelson, will soon be married.
“Darlene is the love of my life and very special and very supportive of my business,” said Barry, who has two married daughters, Melanie and Kimberly.
Barry, who turns 60 this week, said retirement may be beckoning but not yet. “I’m looking toward the light at the end of the tunnel – not immediately but in the near future.”
Park Square and Pearl Street in Chelsea just wouldn’t be the same without a Kirshon overseeing operations at Kirshon Paint.