A heart-warming family business story…..
In January 1987, just 5 months into my career, I received my first turnaround referral from the Special Assets (troubled loan) department of a bank. The client? Pesznecker Brothers. At that time, the company was a 2nd generation family business. There were two banks involved and serious doubt about whether the company could survive. Six months later, after instituting a variety of critical changes and successfully implementing an out-of-court Chapter 11 through which all creditors were ultimately paid in full, the company returned to profitability.
Fast forward to September 5, 2014: Pesznecker Brothers is now a third-generation family business, and the Portland Business Journal just ran a story ( Pesznecker Brothers Business Journal Article ) about a new product developed by the company in partnership with Portland’s Central City Concern, a win-win for both.
These were/are really good people. Turnarounds can be gut wrenching. Owners are asked to make dramatic, sometimes painful changes, and it can take a while to for them to recover. In this case, a year after I left, Dick Pesznecker and Don Ford, the owners at that time, invited me to lunch to thank me.
Since 1987, I have had clients almost 100 times the 1987 size of Pesznecker, but this turnaround remains one of my favorites. Making money is nice, but seeing the lasting fruits of my labor and being appreciated have value beyond measure.
I still display in my home a beautiful copper box, handcrafted by Leo Pesznecker, one of the original founders, and presented to me as a thank you. My photography is not great, but here are two photos: One of the box, itself; the other, Leo’s inscription from the bottom.
If you want to know more about Pesznecker from inception to today, visit About Us on the company’s website.