"Until someone does something like this, you never know just how much people in town really appreciate you," Terry Holland said. "I think I was more moved by the letters people wrote. It's all pretty amazing."
Holland was the winner of our contest, which captivated the town and attracted a staggering following with about 16,000 votes.
And that was no small acheivement. He garnered more than 9,000 votes and was up against Town Hall icon Joyce Bradshaw, whose supporters gave Holland's an exciting race. Team Joyce needn't be dismayed, though... she made a very impressive showing.
When the contest launched in early April, Holland was in Indiana and had no idea about it. He said his brother sent him an email about it and he was
"It was pretty amazing," he said. "The first thing I did was I went and voted for Joyce."
'When You Can Give Back...'
Holland, owner of doesn't need the symbolic title of unofficial mayor, but most people in town would say he's earned it. He represents the American ideals of volunteerism, hard work and love for community that go into maintaining a town.
Holland has dedicated countless hours to serving the community, from tireless work on behalf of youth sports to securing funding for the town's parks and ball fields and promoting local businesses. If there is work to be done to improve the lives of children in town, Holland is usually at the forefront of it.
Always humble, Holland credits State Rep. David Torrisi for recently getting the town an improved Community Preservation Act amendment in the state budget, but Holland was a major driving force in that accomplishment, keeping in constant touch with Torrisi about what the town needs and ways to improve the town's parks for the kids.
"It's growing up in North Andover, North Andover's always been a volunteer community," Holland said, mentioning historic local legends like Joe Walsh and Bill McEvoy. "When you get into a situation when you can give back, you do it. My business is a lunch business and a dinner business, so in between I have the opportunity to give back. I had a great experience as a kid growing up in town, and my kids had a fantastic experience, too. Now it's a great opportunity for me to give back."
This has been a great year for Holland so far. In addition to the unofficial mayor designation, Holland won an award for his involvement in the Tourney for Tim and by the North Andover Merchants Association.
"I have a lot of respect for Terry, as a business man and as an individual," NAMA President Sylvie Foulds said. "There is a reason people vote for him. From Merchant of the year to Mayor. Terry is the kind of person that you get what you see. Honesty, integrity and a willingness to give back to all those around him."
Holland may have business in his blood. He was raised in a family of 12 kids, six boys and six girls, and most of them have been small business owners. His father worked at General Electric and promoted business ethic to all of the children.
And Holland gives some credit to that particular "Team Holland" for his unofficial mayoral victory, citing his siblings' passionate email campaign to get it for him. In fact, as he spoke about it after the lunch rush at stachey's there was a vase of flowers on the counter, from his brother, with a ribbon that reads "Congratulations Mayor."