Dunfey Family Enterprises

Boston Globe, June 27, 1979

HAMPTON, N.H. — A continuance of the tremendous growth of the business enterprises of the Dunfey family of Hampton and Durham, New Hampshire, was further illustrated this past week with the opening of a new motor inn and restaurant, adjacent to the historic Lamie’s Tavern on Rte. 1 In Hampton Center.

The 32 unit motor inn is a two-story, garrison-colonial style structure and features a new dining room. The main entrance faces Lafayette Road, at the north end of the Tavern. A spacious lobby provides easy access to the five dining rooms, coffee shop and all other facilities of the present building.

The units in this new motor inn are fireproof, soundproof, with wall to wall carpeting, the decorative motif being early American. All units are equipped with television, telephones and individual controls governing heat and air-conditioning. In addition to these motel conveniences, guests are afforded full hotel services.

The new dining room, “The Shoals,” is air-conditioned with a capacity of 100 guests, and offers a menu specializing in sea foods. The historic Isles of Shoals, where the first fishing stations in America were located furnishes the inspiration for the unusual decorative motif.

This expression of confidence in the healthy economy of New Hampshire and especially the seacoast area by the Dunfey family comes as no surprise to those who are acquainted with the diversified enterprises of this unusual family.

Thirteen years ago the family opened a clam stand on a small corner location at Hampton Beach. Today they own one restaurant, an amusement center and a food shop at the beach; a department store and a business block in Durham; Lamie’s Tavern with its beautiful new motor lodge, a thriving insurance business in Hampton and a realty company with offices in Hampton and Hampton Beach. In 1958 they helped organize the Hampton National Bank. Several months ago the Dunfey family purchased the 214-room Carpenter Hotel in Manchester, one of the largest in the state.

The Dunfey business family are the widow and sons of Leroy W. Dunfey who commenced his business 41 years ago when he opened a variety store in Lowell, Mass. The original family consisted of eight sons and four daughters. All four Dunfey girls have become Catholic nuns.

Sister Ann Francesca (Mary) is at the Star of the Sea Convent in Hawaii. Sister Julie Francesca (Eileen) is at St. Michael’s in Exeter; Sister Francesca (Kay) is on the teaching staff at Emmanuel College in Boston. The youngest daughter, Sister Catherine LeRoy (Eleanor) is at the Notre Dame Convent in Waltham.

The varied Granite State businesses are conducted by Mrs. Catherine Dunfey and five of her sons, John P., William L., Robert J., Walter J., and Gerald F., with legal counsel from a sixth brother, Richard P. of Exeter. The two other brothers, Paul and Roy, hold responsible positions in other parts of the United States.

General manager of all the Dunfey interests is John. He is 35, an ex-Air Force pilot, married (as are all the boys) and has four children. He lives in Hampton as do all the New Hampshire Dunfey’s except Walter and Richard.

William, manager of the real estate and insurance activities is keenly interested in the political and public affairs of the state and at age 33 is a member of the N.H. State Library Commission.

Robert, 33, is responsible for the operation of Lamie’s Tavern and the operation of “Playland” at Hampton Beach. He is a vice president and director of the Portsmouth Board of Realtors and treasurer of the state Realtors Assn.

[missing words, referring to Walter] Durham Dunfey enterprises during the school year, then transfers to the Hampton area for the vacation season. He is president of the Durham Men’s Club, vice president of the Granite State Restaurant Assn. ia member of the Durham Budget Committee and the Dover Lions Club.

The youngest brother, Gerald, 23, graduated from the University of New Hampshire and is in charge of restaurant operations at Hampton Beach.

During the Summer months the various Dunfey operations employ 225 persons with a drop to about 125 in the other seasons.

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According to Mrs. Catherine Dunfey the key to the success of the family undertakings is the priceless possession of family unity. She revealed that the family always prayed, worked and enjoyed social pleasures together and that is still in practice today.

Perhaps there is another secret to the Dunfey success story and it is in the area of employee relationships. By doing a great many things that add up to being nice people to work for, the Dunfey enterprises have assembled a competent and loyal family of employees.