Gilroy – Barney Murray has found his calling. It may have taken decades, but the 50-year-old Gilroy resident followed his passion and turned it into a business.
Murray runs a Web site called the Gilroy Wedding Planner, which is an Internet resource for wedding products and services in Gilroy, Hollister, Morgan Hill and San Martin.
“When people hear the name they assume I plan weddings,” Murray said laughing. “I haven’t planned a wedding yet.” Gilroy Wedding Planner is a directory service which links people to wedding planners in the area.
“You’d be surprised how much is really going on in Gilroy,” Murray said.
The father of two daughters, 25 and 22, Murray has always been an entrepreneur. At a young age he enjoyed wood working with his father and decided that it was a hobby that could be made into a job. He made the switch from woodworking to technology in college and moved from New York to California to pursue his dreams.
His love for computers landed him a job at IBM, which unfortunately led to a job layoff in 1999. Murray took six months off of job searching and built Web sites for small businesses. In 2002 after his two daughters, Aja and Aryn were grown and left home, Murray and his wife Jacki, of 24 years, moved from San Jose to Gilroy. Murray then decided that working the traditional 9am to 5pm job was not what he had wanted to do all his life. He had ideas and dreams that he knew would be successful.
“Unemployment brought me to the conclusion that I can pursue anything that interests me,” he said. “You have to take risks.”
Since Murray has always been driven by creativity and his love of woodworking was still in his blood, he didn’t hesitate when asked to build cabinets for several friends. He discovered that his love for woodworking would be the perfect opportunity to test out his small business dream. He did a few small projects and decided to open a shop in Gilroy that he could work out of.
“He’s very determined,” said 49-year-old Jacki. “Anything he sets his mind out to do he accomplishes.”
Murray does not have a product line and prides himself in making every design custom.
“I love that I can make someone’s home beautiful,” said Murray, ” It’s never boring.”
Although Murray currently has a job at with Hitachi working the 9am to 5pm job, he still has his woodworking shop and has began creating a non-profit organization called So Ho USA, an organization planned to help small home based business nation wide, get off on the right foot. It will be membership based and open to businesses seeking support.
“I’m still at the shop on weekends and evenings.” Murray said. “You have to have the 9 to 5 job to pay the bills, but it is important to pursue your passion.”
Murray will start with So Ho in Gilroy, Morgan Hill and San Jose and eventually expand the organization. He saw the opportunity to live the second part of his life and wants to make sure others have that support to do so while working. He wants to make sure that people can pursue their passion gradually without having it take over their regular job.
“People owe it to them selves to give it a shot. If they are talented enough to make it into a business then they should do so but the organization will be here to support there passion either way. It’s all about living and not just existing.”
Visit Murray’s Web sites at www.sohousa.org, or at www.gilroyweddingplanner.com.
By Lauren Jones Special to The Dispatch