Brothers Building celebrates almost six decades of building homes and businesses in The Valley. In this photo Johnny Johnson, on the backhoe, is framed by bank executives from Northfield Savings Bank on the left. On the right, Ron Graves Jr., Dick Brothers, a bank executive, Pat Thompson and Ron Graves Sr. The photo was taken at the ground breaking for the new Northfield Savings Bank. Brothers Building file photo.

In 1965, Dick Brothers and Ron Graves, brothers-in-law, left their respective jobs and teamed up to form Brothers Building, one of The Valley’s most enduring building contractors. The pair built many of The Valley’s early ski homes, including some iconic chalet-style homes still found (and inhabited) around The Valley.



“Dick was a carpenter and had worked for someone else. Ron was the business manager at Mad River Glen,” said Ron Graves Jr. now the managing partner/owner of the Waitsfield-business.

The late Graves Sr. was married to Gussie (Brothers) Graves, Dick’s sister.

Over the years, according to Graves Jr. the company’s size and focus expanded, contracted and evolved. Ski area development was a lot of the earlier work, commercial work became the focus at one point as did work on Nantucket, where a whole crew was based.

“At one point, we had 250 employees in the 1980s when we were doing a lot of commercial work, firehouses, schools, etc. Each time there was a downturn in the industry – which happened about every 10 to 15 years – we’d shrink the payroll. We went from 250 employees to 75 to 45 to 30 as we refocused on building homes in a more manageable way,” Graves Jr. said.

He worked for the firm during high school, as well as Bisbee’s Hardware, and also worked summers during college and vacations. When he got out of college in 1985, he went to Bisbee’s, which Graves Sr. and Brothers had purchased from Doug McKeckney that same year.

When Graves Sr. retired in 1998, Graves Jr. came back to Brothers. Ownership of the company has stayed in the family, first with Dick Brothers and Ron Graves Sr. Then Graves Jr. and John Pollock (son of Brother’s second wife Mary) were partners. Graves Sr. died and Derrek Martens became a partner. Martens remains in partnership today with Graves Jr.


Over the years, Graves Jr. said that what people want in homes has changed gradually, a process he has enjoyed. He said the impact of COVID also changed his business, with the existing inventory of homes to buy drying up, putting pressure on land for sale, which he said had increased significantly.

“The cost per acre is phenomenal and you’re seeing pressure to build on some sites that weren’t the most marketable a few years back. Some of this land is difficult in terms of building,” he said.

“What we’re also seeing is people building homes built in the 60s, 70s and 80s and taking them down to the studs, putting in new windows, insulation, roofs, siding and more. It’s almost like a new home,” he said.

Graves Jr. is proud of the longevity and continuity of the company’s employees. He noted that Frank Peryea has worked with Brothers for 40 years and his son Art started working at Brothers right out of high school and is still working decades later. Another employee he is proud of? His daughter Eliza Graves who manages the office in addition to her real estate career.