Mark King has always been proud of Lynn Tech, but he became much more actively involved with his alma mater seven years ago when he got a visit from the former principal.
“In 2012, Al Malagrifa asked me to get back involved in my school,” King said. “Nobody tells ‘Mal’ no.”
Flash forward seven years and King, owner of Marion Street Auto Body, serves on the Lynn Tech Alumni Association, the Advisory Board and the Hall of Fame Committee. “Anything the school needs, I’m a phone call away,” he said.
King believes he owes his career – and his successful business – to the skills he acquired at Tech as a student in the auto body shop. He worked his co-op job at Marion Street Auto Body for three years. At that time, the business was owned by Louis Goudreau (father of Barry, of the rock group “Boston”).
After graduating from Tech in 1978, King got a full-time job at Marion Street and stayed until the Goudreau family sold the business in 1980. He worked at car dealerships for the next nine years, except for 1985 when he returned to Marion Street for a year. On Dec. 18, 1989, he came back in a new role: owner. Thirty years later, he is still here and the business is thriving.
“The reputation of our business is still standing from the days of Louis Goudreau,” said King, a Lynn Tech Hall-of-Famer. “We do everything we can for our customers.”
King attributes the longevity to his providing a one-stop-shopping experience for customers when they come through the door after an auto accident. “I deal with the insurance company, set up the car rental and take on the burden of the car accident for the customer,” he said.
That’s one of the reasons he has resisted the temptation to expand beyond eight employees, a group that includes his brother. “If I had a bigger business I would have gotten to the point where I couldn’t be as personal with my customers,” he said.
From his shop on Marion Street, across the street from the Ancient Order of Hibernians, King has been an eyewitness to progress, from the opening of Federal Street to through traffic, to the new Market Basket. A rotary is coming to the intersection of Marion, Federal and Waterhill streets with a new development planned.
“My career is centered in this neighborhood,” Kind said. “I’m watching development and growth and I can see how great it is for the city. The neighborhood is just going to get better. The City of Lynn is where it’s at. It’s a thriving city.”
That’s why King is looking forward, and not back, as he prepares to celebrate three decades in business later this year. “I hope to be here for another 30,” he said.