This is an epic story of triumph, trial, and love. A tale of beginning a new life in a new country, founded with integrity, based on a deep love of family, community, and country.
In the late 1800s, like nearly nine million others from Europe and Asia, Shaheen A. Shaheen (known as Assi) immigrated to America. He was 16 years old. It was the beginning of the Second Industrial Revolution, which offered promising opportunities to those strong and brave enough to leave their homelands and families behind.
Two years after Shaheen’s arrival and once settled in Cranford, New Jersey, as was the custom, his marriage was arranged and his bride, the daughter of a noble family, joined him in America. The couple would be happily married for 47 years, blessed with eight children and 13 grandchildren.
Shaheen provided for his growing family as a smart and hardworking businessman. He acquired real estate, brokered insurance, and began building homes. Then came the Great Depression. Suddenly, real estate held little value, insurance policies were cashed in, and home-building all but ceased. Even still, Shaheen selflessly helped those in his community to the extent he could, regardless of financial difficulties.
In the midst of it all, Assi and several of his sons incorporated Builders’ General in 1931 in their hometown of Cranford. As it was then and continues now, the Shaheen family holds no sense of entitlement and in spite of their humble beginnings in the midst of the depression and subsequent economic downturns through eight plus decades, they gather strength from each other and their community, always finding ways to encourage others with unexpected help. In doing so, the family continues to succeed through optimism and overcomes their challenges with ingenuity and hard work.
By 1946, the elder Shaheen had passed away and his son, Victor, presided over Builders’ General as the young man’s brothers left the business to pursue other endeavors. Victor concentrated on establishing lumber yards, providing the highest quality materials available, and Builders’ General quickly became the premier supplier for builders, general contractors, and homeowners.
Victor and his wife, Janet, began raising a family of their own in Cranford. Known to all in his beloved hometown, Victor’s civic efforts increased as he had the honor of helping shape the Chamber of Commerce, the Boys Club, the Lions Club, and founding the First Aid Squad.
Several years later, the family moved to Rumson while Victor commuted to Cranford and tirelessly grew Builders’ General to include other needed building materials for the booming housing market.
By the 1970s, Victor’s son, Tim, had joined the business and together the duo had identified the need for adding another lumber yard to supply their loyal customers in the Monmouth County area. In 1977 Builders’ General expanded to their second location in Little Silver.
Shortly after, Victor passed away, leaving Tim to lead the family legacy. Together with his brother, Phil (the current president of the company) as well as the many other family members, their countless loyal employees and the steadfast support of their customers, the Shaheen family has grown the business to its current five locations: Little Silver, Edison, Toms River, Freehold, and Long Branch.
Eighty-six years from Builders’ General humble beginnings, Tim and Phil collectively have four sons currently involved in the family business, all sharing the same DNA with the belief to work hard and take care of everyone you meet like family.