Passing on the reins: Jim Moule retiring as owner at Moule Paint & Glass
At 19, Jim Moule got his first job in glass outside the family business.
Before that, in middle school, he endured a chemical accident that was almost catastrophic, leaving the now-business owner unable to go to school for a year.
Rather than class, Jim Moule engaged in glass projects with his father.
After returning to his education and completing high school he went to Alaska and was immediately able to find a job in glass — in no small part, he said, due to his previous experience. The work was gratifying. People were impressed, he was happy and he left a finished product.
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“You felt like you accomplished something,” he said.
Years later after wrestling at, and matriculating from, a Seattle college, meeting his wife and running a glass shop in San Rafael, Jim Moule moved back to Nevada County where he bought the family business — Moule Paint & Glass — with one of his brothers.
The two co-owned it until 1978, when Jim Moule became the sole owner.
After 45 years of carrying the torch, Jim Moule will be heading into retirement on Nov. 1, passing the reins to his son, Sean Moule, who has worked as the store’s general manager.
Jim Moule has been through a lot in four decades of running his business, including the survival of three recessions.
As company policy, the owner said he’s tried to offer fair prices and good service. But during tougher times, it’s been important relationships that have carried the business through the day. Jim Moule said he’s contracted with government buildings in Grass Valley, Nevada City and the county as well as schools in the area, which, unlike homes and businesses, don’t necessarily close due to economic downturn.
“No matter how bad the recession is, they’re still going,” he said. “That was kind of a savior.”
Relationships aside, the business owner said he’s been able to protect himself and his business from economic shocks because of his savings through frugal living, particularly avoiding the allure of fancy cars and boats during high times.
“The biggest thing in my life I think is that I’ve always been conservative financially,” he said.
During downturns, he was able to buy products from other glass and paint stores on the cheap and remain in business when others struggled.
A FAMILY BUSINESS
In the earlier days of the store, Jim Moule’s dad usually had a few of the kids working in the shop. That tradition has continued and even peaked last year. At one point, over 10 Moule family members worked in the store, including his wife, sons, a niece, nephew and two of his brothers.
Things swiftly changed this year when people moved in separate directions, but Jim Moule said he enjoyed the family bonding while it lasted. With 11 siblings (most of whom joined the paint or glass industry), the owner has been accustomed to this sort of closeness.
“We just get along real well,” he said. “We just always have.”
Even when arguments occur, issues are soon resolved and family members move on.
“We always stick together, even if we fight like cats and dogs sometimes.”
Today, a third generation of Moule’s are in the business. Three of his nieces own glass shops in Auburn, Redding and Red Bluff, he said.
Although he will no longer own the business, Jim Moule plans to continue working on glass projects at the shop and doing small things like sweeping and cleaning toilets. Doing these odd jobs isn’t much of an aberration for the owner, he said, as he never asks someone to do something he himself wouldn’t do.
“If I’m not willing to get up there on the ladder and install stuff then, ya know,” he said, “I’m not going to ask someone else to do it.”
Outside the business, the soon-to-be retiree said he plans to make his 27-acre property fire safe. And, on top of that, he will likely volunteer with his wife at the Interfaith Food Ministry and possibly spend time at Nevada County Housing and Community Services, helping out where he’s needed.
To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4219.
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