Family roofing business keeps thriving after 100 years’ service

BLUE ASH – Dave Molloy doesn’t know why his family got started in the roofing business four generations ago, but he does know it was a business he loved from childhood and one that he has continued even when the rest of the family moved on.

Molloy’s great-grandfather Harry Molloy started Molloy Roofing Co. He was the son of Irish immigrants to Cincinnati, and what sparked his interest in roofing is anyone’s guess, said Molloy, now the owner of Molloy Roofing in Blue Ash.

In those days, roofing and heating systems were closely connected, so Harry Molloy could have had experience in either one before he founded his business.

Whatever the reason, Molloy Roofing has stood the test of time since 1900 in a competitive and ever-changing marketplace.

Molloy said he has worked in the business for nearly as long as he can remember, sorting nails and helping out with odd jobs around the shop when he was as young as 8. “I’ve always just loved it,” said Molloy. “I’m weird. I never considered doing anything but this. Even when I was young, I would draw pictures of roofing jobs.”

Molloy took over after his father, Don Molloy, retired in 2001. His two brothers, Dan and Jim, are not involved in the company.

At one time, however, quite a few family members had interests in the business.

Molloy said his great-grandfather’s two sons, Ed and Harry “Babe” Molloy, both worked in the business with their father. During the Depression years, the business shrank to the point where it would not support the two of them.

Dave Molloy and Joe Hylton of Molloy Roofing
Molloy Roofing president Dave Molloy (left) goes over project plans with vice president Joseph Hylton at the company shop in Blue Ash. Molloy says his reputation and his company’s longevity have helped him to stay ahead and continue to grow. (Photo: The Enquirer/ Leigh Taylor)

At that point, Ed Molloy, Dave’s grandfather, started his own company, also called Molloy Roofing, while Babe continued on with the original. Ed had four sons, one of whom was Dave’s father, Don. Two of them started their own companies as well, also naming them Molloy Roofing with slight variations.

Eventually the companies merged, as family members decided to abandon the business or retire. By 1970, Dave’s father owned the last surviving Molloy Roofing Co. after merging with Babe’s original business, which is why Molloy said his company can authentically claim 100-plus years of service.

While much in the roofing business has changed over the years, much has stayed the same, said Molloy. Roofing is still a labor-intensive business that relies on well-trained employees to get the job done right, he said.

Competition is abundant, but Molloy said his reputation and his company’s longevity bave helped him to stay ahead and continue to grow despite the recent tough economy. He expects sales to be near $5 million this year, continuing a growth trend of about 9 percent per year since he took over in 2001.

“People always need a roof over their heads, he said. “But more people may start to repair their roofs rather than replace them as the economy gets tighter.”

The cost of asphalt shingles, which are made using petroleum, has gone up roughly 50 percent in the last six months alone, said Molloy. Because roofing alternatives such as metal or cedar shingles are also expensive, customers still turn to asphalt. But Molloy doesn’t know how much longer prices can climb before customers pull back.

“It’s staggering really,” Molloy said of the increase in materials prices. “But we’re still busy. We actually saw a big increase (in residential business) during spring. It really took me by surprise.”

Molloy’s customers said they have been impressed with the roofing company’s commitment to service, often a rare commodity with contractors, they said.

Dave Kleier, vice president of Sparkling Carbonic in Woodlawn, said his company hired Molloy Roofing for repair work and new roof work.

“Their responsiveness has been excellent,” said Kleier. “If we had a leak, they came back no questions asked. They went above and beyond the call of duty. Often with contractors, once they’ve received payment they don’t return your calls. That has never been the case with Molloy.”

William Bramlage of Sycamore Township hired Molloy to roof his home in Indian Hill about two years ago and said the employees took great care to work around his garden and home without damaging anything.

“They went out of their way to make sure the job went smoothly,” he said. “We had extensive gardens and they built scaffolding to protect them from damage. Now we bave a new house and are having some work done to the roof. Molloy’s who I called.”

Molloy Roofing Co.

11099 Deelfield Road
Blue Ash, OH 45242


Dave Molloy

Employees: 50