The Business Is Over, But Its Legacy Lives On

by Bill Brenner on January 20, 2015

Those who knew me growing up remember the family business, especially the blue-and-gold building on Route 1 in Saugus across from Kappy’s Liquors. The business is closed, but it leaves a lasting legacy.

Mood music:

I’ve been helping my father manage the realty trust that’s been part of the family business, with the objective of selling the building. His eyesight is bad, so I frequently read documents aloud to him. Yesterday was one of those days, and my younger son was there, listening as I read a document that essentially described the history of the business.

On the way home, he said something that floored me: “It seems like such a waste, getting rid of an entire family business.”

I thought about it for a few minutes. Then I told him that some businesses go on for generations, while others have more limited lifespans. But like people, they leave something behind, no matter how many years they were around.

Our family business wasn’t going to go on for generations, as it turns out.┬áNone of us kids wanted to take it over. I forged a path in journalism and Internet security; my siblings took their own routes, as well. And with the advent of online shopping, our family business suffered the same fate as many other family operations, as people stopped going to mom-and-pop stores and started spending their money online.

But it wasn’t a waste. It provided the family with a living when it was needed and helped us shape the futures we wanted.

For me personally, the business produced the resources my parents needed to get me the medical care I needed as a child. Later, it provided me with the resources to go to college. I met Erin at college and studied journalism there. Erin and I got married and had kids, and my career is still going strong, 20 years later.

Without the resources of the family business, chances are that none of that would have happened.

The business gave a lot of long-time employees a living to raise their own families with, too.

The stuff my father and stepmom sold — headwear and footwear for weddings and proms, party supplies, wedding invitations, favors, and so on — gave countless customers what they needed to build precious memories.

A waste? Hardly.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Bob April 26, 2015 at 12:02 pm

You may much the same of Chandler’s.

Chuck February 11, 2016 at 4:16 pm

Hi Bill
My brother-law Fred, my mother and myself all worked for your Jerry Brenner when he was in Chelsea and after he rebuilt in Saugus. Jerry was a great guy. He hade a son Michael, was that your dad or brother.
it was not a waste:)

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