Many people struggle with the decision to retire, but it can be even more difficult for a business owner.
They often feel the pressure to keep their employees employed, and many also care deeply about their business and its part in the community.
But time stands still for no one.
In the past few weeks, three longtime business owners in Hancock have retired and fortunately have been able to sell their businesses to other local entrepreneurs. Many of the same people will be employed. The same products and services will continue to be provided locally.
On June 25, Richard and Roberta Kahn retired from the furniture business, selling Gartner's Furniture and Floors to Mark and Gail Johnson, another local couple. With the help of their son, Jordan, and a retained staff of a dozen, the Johnsons will continue to offer the same quality products and hometown service at the same location, now Gartner's Gallery.
The Kahns had owned the business for over 40 years - a business started by Jacob and Isadore Gartner 126 years ago as a clothing store. The Keweenaw Peninsula Chamber of Commerce is throwing the Kahns a party at the Gallery from 2 to 5 p.m. today. Cake and coffee will be served.
Mark Johnson comes with 38 years of retail experience. He plans to keep his job as manager of merchandising at Michigan Technological University, overseeing the school's bookstore and University Images. Gail worked at Gartner's for 21 years and Jordan brings a degree in business from Tech.
On July 1, Janet Fredrickson sold her family's 94-year-old insurance business, Fredrickson Agency, to the Tervo Agency, also of Hancock. Fredrickson and her late husband, Rudi, had purchased the business from his father, August. Rudi died in 2008. Janet felt it was time to spend more time with her children and grandchildren, and was happy to turn over some 600 customers to the Tervo Agency as part of the sale.
Tervo president Mike Mikkola said he knew the Fredrickson family well and was happy to welcome their customers with the same friendly service and insurance products they had before.
Finally, this past Monday, Frank Taucher Jr. retired, selling his True Value Hardware store to Risto Alholinna. Frank's True Value became Risto's Hardware. Again, same friendly service, same quality products.
Taucher, whose wife Susie also worked at the store for many years, purchased the former Coast to Coast store from his father, Frank Sr., in 1978. Frank Jr. worked there since his dad bought the place in 1963 from the Isaacson brothers. They founded the business in 1948.
Alholinna comes with over 20 years of experience in the construction business, having used many of the products sold in the store. He plans to keep the same six employees and hopes his son, Lane, 14, and other family members will enjoy the new adventure with him.
Congratulations to the retirees and to the new business owners. We wish you all well.