Who Leads Meetings?
An Interview with Norman Hannoush
by Kitty Axelson-Berry
You’re from Lebanon originally. When did you come here?
We were all born in Lebanon and immigrated to the United States in 1971. We landed in Boston and went to Lawrence for five years, then Wilbraham, then Springfield.
Did your family bring substantial savings or other resources that helped you all get started?
We came with the shirts on our bodies, as they say. My older brothers immediately started working, doing jewelry repairs, and we saved everything, saved and saved, and then we were able to open the first store. Every time we had some money, we put it into the business.
Did you get support from the Lebanese community here?
As a family, we have always supported each other. This is what it is to be a family. But did we get support from the Lebanese community? No, but of course, we made sure there was a Lebanese community when we moved somewhere. And so now we have 28 stores that we own and six franchises–one in Falmouth, one in Dedham, another one in Manchester (Connecticut) and another one in White Plains, New York. And the two that are opening very soon, in Pittsfield and Northampton. More…
Making It Work in the Third Generation:
The Tyler Equipment Company
by Kitty Axelson-Berry
Is there some grand success–or catastrophe–that would be informative for readers as family business people?
Well, the big success is that we’re still here.My grandfather and grandmother started this in 1922, renting half a building at the end of Columbus Avenue, selling anything–tools, brushes, paint.They survived the Depression intact and went into construction, which was good during the wars and during the building of the highway system, which was for defense purposes.
But it’s a cyclical business, very dependent on the economy, and in the late ’80s and early ’90s when a lot of banks failed, it was very difficult.In ’88 we were at an all-time high and in ’89 we had a free-fall.It was really the worst time, very traumatic.We had to cut way back on our employees.But we kicked and clawed and scratched and we’re still here.
What has the succession been at Tyler?
Let’s see if I can get it right.There was the grandfather and grandmother,and there’s my father, M. Brooke Tyler, Jr., and uncles Wallace Tyler, and Grant Tyler. Aunt Fern, who was not active in the business, upon my grandfather’s death, became one of the owners.Then there’s M. Brooke Tyler, III and me, Bill; and Grant Tyler, Jr. and Thomas. More…