HAMPTON — The McGuirk family has been in business in Hampton Beach for decades, and this year the Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce recognizes their contributions to the community.
McGuirk’s Ocean View Hotel & Restaurant will be named the Chamber’s 2022 Business of the Year at its annual awards ceremony March 2 at Ashworth by the Sea.
“The McGuirk family has been a Hampton Beach icon for many years and continues to invest in making Hampton Beach New Hampshire’s No. 1 gem,” House Speaker John Nyhan said.
The current face of the family business, Tom McGuirk, 50, is the fifth of eight children who grew up in the summer and worked in Hampton Beach, far from Worcester, Massachusetts, where they spent off-season months. It was McGuirk’s parents, Eleanor and the late Bill McGuirk, who opened the hotel and restaurant 30 years ago, he said, but added that his family’s role in the Hampton Beach scene had started before that.
“It started with my grandmother and my grandfather,” McGuirk said. “They bought and rented cottages in Hampton Beach. My parents opened the hotel and restaurant 30 years ago, but they started in 1969 with the rental of chalets. You did. There were four families on our street at the time and all of them bought and rented cabins over the summer.
“It’s a family affair”
Early on, McGuirk and his siblings participated in the Hampton Beach summer, but no one gave it much thought at the time.
“Someone would say, ‘Hey, this porch needs painting,’ and you went and painted the porch,” he said. “We had no idea we were working hard; we just did.
During the offseason, education was a priority, and McGuirk graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York with a bachelor’s degree in management, then headed to Emerson College in Boston for a master’s degree in communication.
After graduating, he headed to California, working in Hollywood from 1995 to 2003, writing for a number of sitcoms, like “Eight Simple Rules” with the late John Ritter. The series ran for three years on ABC.
“I was a huge TV fan; I’ve always loved sitcoms,” McGuirk said. “I had a great experience in Los Angeles. I loved it. I loved the people I worked with and I worked every day. But during the[summer break on television]I would come back still here and working in the family business.
It was much the same for all of her siblings – sisters Norene, Erin, Meghan, Colleen and Kerry, and brothers Bill and Tim. Regardless of occupations, those who could return to Hampton Beach and work in the hotel and restaurant each summer did. Many still do.
“It’s a family affair,” he said.
After eight years in Los Angeles, however, Hollywood began to lose its appeal.
“The (television) industry was changing; it wasn’t such a friendly environment anymore,” he said. “And I had something here that a lot of people dream of.”
In 2003, after returning home for the summer, McGuirk stayed. As his parents grew older, he stepped in to offload their responsibilities. He will assume the role of general manager of the Ocean View, then open a real estate agency to occupy himself all year round.
“I don’t like to stop and start again, and I like real estate; it suits me,” McGuirk said. “I don’t mind working hard. The people I grew up with worked 12-14 hour days.
He credits his parents for passing on their work ethic to him and his siblings, as well as their management of people.
“We have good employees and we are very good at helping out,” he said. “We have the same people who come back year after year and we treat them like family. And some have become a family.
McGuirk said he was “humbled” to have been named the chamber’s Business of the Year. And the family is not going to rest on its laurels.
“We’re still expanding,” he said. “We do something new every summer.”
Plus, he’s pretty confident that McGuirk’s will continue to be a family business, offering new things for many years to come.
“I consider myself a third-generation business owner in Hampton Beach,” McGuirk said. “And there will be a fourth generation. I have 20 nieces and nephews.
The recipients of other chamber business awards are: Tom Moulton, President and CEO of Sleepnet Corporation and DeNiro Construction, winner of the Faith in the Future award; and the New Hampshire School of Mechanical Trades, winner of the President’s Award.
According to Colleen Westcott, director of chamber events, these annual awards are given after review by the organization’s board of directors, in conjunction with chamber president John Nyhan.
Moulton, a long-term resident, was chosen for his continued investment in business and real estate in the community and his plans to improve local housing opportunities, according to Nyhan, making him “a perfect candidate for the award. Faith in the Future”.
“Tom has really given back to the community in so many ways,” according to Nyhan.
The New Hampshire School of Mechanical Trades, though relatively new to Hampton, stepped in and worked with the chamber and Winnacunnet High School to provide training for high school students in mechanical trades, expertise needed in the area, according to Nyhan. . The program exposes high school students to career paths in plumbing, electrical, oil heating and air conditioning.
During the evening ceremony, the chamber will also honor and remember community members Bob Preston Sr., Norman Bolyea and Dan (Desi) Lanio.
The Room Awards Dinner begins at 5 p.m. on March 2 at the Ashworth by the Sea, located on Ocean Boulevard in Hampton Beach. Tickets are $45. For more information, contact the chamber at 603-926-8718 or email [email protected]