Charles McMurray Company continues legacy of giving

It all started with an idea, two dedicated people and a chicken coop. 

The Charles McMurray Company was established in 1946 by traveling salesman Charles McMurray and his wife, Cassie. At the time, Charles was working for Washington Hardware, but he dreamed of having his own company. With his drive and entrepreneurial spirit, Charles started his business of selling household hardware goods out of his first warehouse – an old chicken coop. 

When the business grew too big for that space, Charles expanded the business by erecting a larger metal building over the coop, before eventually moving to the current warehouse at Clinton and Argyle avenues in 1976. The company has grown into a wholesale distributor of household hardware goods, laminate and solid surfacing serving customers in three states. 

Blessed with their success, Charles and Cassie felt it was important to give back to their community, and decided to support the works of then-Fresno Community Hospital.

After 60 years of increasingly successful business, the Charles McMurray Company is still committed to supporting philanthropic causes. And now at the helm of the business is Charles and Cassie’s son, Lou McMurray.

Since 1968, the McMurrays have given to Community Medical Centers, supporting areas like Community Regional Medical Center’s burn and Level 1 trauma services and Clovis Community Medical Center.

“My parents were involved with a number of charitable projects, including Community, so it has always been a part of my life to help where help is needed,” Lou said. “I think that it keeps my mind open to the fact that not all people are as fortunate as I.”

He said he understands the needs in the Valley are great, and health care is of top concern. So Lou and his wife, Dena, carry on the tradition of supporting Community because they believe when people give it can change lives.

“I choose to donate to organizations that I know are well-managed and that have an impact in the community where there is a need,” Lou said. “There is a massive need here in the Valley. Sometimes it feels like your gift is just a drop in the bucket, but the cumulative impact can make a difference.”

Lou said he knows first-hand that Community patients receive outstanding medical care.

“Mom recently passed away at the age of 90. She suffered from heart problems and had been in the ER about five or six times this year,” Lou said. “She received great care at Community. I like the staff there; they are legitimately trying to meet all of the needs of everyone who walks in their doors.”

Lou looks to his children to carry on with the giving traditions their grandparents started. Lou’s son, Charlie, now works for the company as a salesman, and Lou hopes Charlie and second son Jed will continue the family legacy. 

“Like my father and me, I hope that my sons will continue the business when it’s the right time.”

This story was reported special to MedWatch Today by Suzanne Crosina-Sahm. She can be reached at