Pull of surf spawned career path

Photo by Kate Donovan PhotographyThe ribbon cutting for Connor Mulholland’s new Amesbury showroom included, from left, Phil DeCologero, executive director of the Amesbury Chamber of Commerce; Brenda Stratis of Shea Concrete, member of the Chamber’s board of directors; Julie Schaeffer, Mulholland’s mother; Melissa Gutierrez, Mulholland’s girlfriend; Connor Mulholland, owner; Jeff Mulholland, Mulholland’s father; Mulholland’s sister Colleen; state Sen. Diana DiZoglio; Amesbury Mayor Kassandra Gove; and Courtney Ryan, legislative aide to state Rep. James Kelcourse. Mulholland’s dog Oakley is at center stage.

AMESBURY — When Connor Mulholland graduated from Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School in 2012, he had just wrapped up learning the ins and outs of HVAC.

But his love of water would pull him down a very different career path.

“I always liked the water,” said Mulholland, a Merrimac native now living in Newburyport. “It was a love in fact, and so after high school, I worked at a surf shop for a few years.”

That line of work exposed him to the art of surf and paddle board maintenance and repair.

Mulholland worked an apprenticeship with Lincoln Canoe & Kayak in Amesbury, noting, “It was there that I learned about composite construction and boat building; and it was there I knew this is what I wanted do professionally.”

He spent summer 2015 with Lincoln before moving on to building skiffs and center consoles for Maritime and Ribcraft. In 2019, Mulholland took the proverbial plunge, tapping his inner entrepreneur and opening his own board and boat repair shop.

“It was nerve-wracking, but exciting,” said Mulholland, and that’s when Mulholland Repairs was born.

While he would spend some time in a small workshop located at CI Works in Amesbury, Mulholland outgrew the space and built a new repair shop at his family’s home in Merrimac, where his father, Jeff, began jumping in to provide additional shop help.

It was because of the support of Mulholland’s parents that he was able to take his business to the next level, working with the owners of CI Works to develop a showroom at their location at 11 Oakland St. in Amesbury.

“When I first opened my repair shop, I worked with a lot of different designs while building boards,” Mulholland said. “But the shop also inspired me to step beyond traditional boards and get creative.”

Mulholland quickly gained a following for building unique outdoor surfboard showers, one-of-a-kind productions that people sought as a beach and poolside amenity.

“Surfing and paddle boarding are both popular hobbies – and growing,” Mulholland said. “Most outdoor showers are barebones, while my designs are carefully constructed art that allow people to showcase their passion for these activities in a functional way.”

Mulholland’s work has been available at local businesses, such as Precision Pool Construction and Eighteen Friend Street, among others. But Mulholland saw the potential in opening his own showroom and the opportunity created by CI Works.

“Connor has shown me a dedicated individual – from his commitment to the February daily ocean plunge to prevent drug addiction to his business,” said Bob O’Brien, CEO and founder of CI Works, referencing Mulholland’s local community advocacy. “He values the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from other business owners in designing products and going to market. We’re thrilled to have Connor as part of the CI Works community.”

In addition to the showers, Mulholland uses his skills to apply the surfboard design to items as varied as coffee tables, bar tops, and wall-hangers.

To learn more about Mulholland Repairs and his work, see his Instagram page @mulholland_repairs.

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