June 15, 1992 |
Cappo the Clown was trying to sell Bunny Shore on this great idea for a routine. "We have this cannon," he said, "but we don't shoot anyone out of it. What we do is put one boy in the cannon and another boy where the first boy would land if we were shooting him out of the cannon, and fire a pistol into the air and have the other boy with his clothes all torn as if he were shot out of the cannon . . . " Shore was skeptical. "Work on it," she said. Just a normal day in the lives of Bunny and her husband, Sid, whose family business, Shore Picnics Inc. in Langhorne, has been organizing company outings, group picnics and family reunions for four decades.
June 3, 1994 |
Behind the wheel of a 1922 Buick touring car, Alice Maris Baird was among the first women in Delaware County to drive. She also was a supporter of women's suffrage. But what family members most remember is her business acumen. In 1929, Baird began selling real estate in Swarthmore to support her family as the country tottered on the brink of the Great Depression. Business survival called for ingenuity. "I remember one house she sold, the lady gave her a string of pearls for a commission," recalled her son, Robert S. Bird.
September 27, 1993 |
On a cool September morning that signals the beginning of autumn, Earl MacIlwain 3d is standing on a stepladder in the driveway of a large suburban home calling out prices for the furniture strewn across the front yard. "Do I hear $100? . . . I got $100. Do I hear $125? . . . I got $125. Do I hear $150?" he asks, cajoling the crowd with the melodic rise and fall of his voice. MacIlwain, 50, owner of Mac Real Estate & Earl MacIlwain Auctioneers in King of Prussia, is a third-generation auctioneer, heir to a business his grandfather - the original Earl MacIlwain - started nearly a century ago. He calls out in a rapid-fire yet singsong voice, the trademark of auctioneers throughout time, to draw in the crowd of about 200. On this day, he was selling the furnishings of a six-bedroom house, whose owners were preparing to move to a smaller ranch house in another part of town.
February 25, 1998 |
As a child, Janet Hackman loved going to auctions with her father. She remembers getting dresses, a refrigerator, even her first car from an auction. "In my blood, I love auctions. . . . My dad would point to somebody and say, 'See that guy who looks like a bum? He's a millionaire four times over. See that guy in the fancy suit? He doesn't have a dime.' " Yesterday, Hackman stared across the rainy parking lot to the warehouse, where a chattering auctioneer was selling off her family's building-supply business.
December 10, 1997 |
When Angelo Butera describes the Graterford Hotel as a family business, he means it. He was born and raised in the two-story hotel. Last year, when he was 39 and had been married for 10 years, Butera, wife Lisa, and their two children moved into their own home - a mere 250 yards away from the hotel. "I'm working hours like crazy," Butera said of his 50-hour schedule at the hotel, which he now runs. "But I like it. I'm my own boss. " The hotel was built in 1876 on what is now Route 29, across the street from the state prison.
November 11, 2005 |
Philadelphia can sometimes be slow to embrace change and innovation - it's a place that values history and tradition, where pedigree still matters. Case in point: Freeman's auction house, more formally known as Samuel T. Freeman & Co., which marks its 200th anniversary tomorrow. The venerable arbiter of the region's material culture is not only the city's oldest auction house, but is considered the oldest in America. "When a business lasts six generations of the same family, that's a distinction in and of itself," says Jay Robert Stiefel, a Center City lawyer and decorative-arts historian.
April 17, 1995 |
After 10 years as a medical laboratory technician for cardiac specialists, Helen Centofanti Peatross decided to return where her heart beckoned. She rejoined her father at Centofanti Tailors Ltd., 7 Station Rd., as a maker of custom-fitted shirts. "I used to hang around the shop, it seemed, forever as a child," Peatross said. "I used to answer the phone and do the billing. I knew all the customers, and I wanted to perpetuate the family business. " Besides, she said, her father, Joseph, 76, a master tailor, needed some help in the shop.
May 19, 2002 |
Bucking the bucks dangled by developers once and for all, the Johnson family has made its farm the 100th to be preserved by Burlington County. The Johnson family will receive interest payments for 16 years on the acquisition price of $2.2 million for the development rights to 98 acres. The interest will be paid at 6 percent annually by the county, with a payment of the $2.2 million principal at the end of that time. The acquisition was announced May 8. Under the farmland preservation program, the property will remain as farmland.
April 3, 1994 |
Charlie Schock was floating somewhere in the Caribbean, savoring a cruise he and his brother had won for keeping a tidy garage, when the letter from Sun Oil arrived. The corporation was pleased to announce that Schock's Atlantic, a fixture in Roxborough since the days of S&H Green Stamps and Red Ball Service, would be turned into a 24-hour convenience store. Just a few months before, the family gas station at Henry Avenue and Walnut Lane had been featured in an in-house commercial touting some changes Sun had in mind for its Atlantic and Sunoco dealers.
July 17, 1994 |
When a bolt of lightning destroyed a transformer here July 6, the electricity went out at O'Boyle's Ice Cream factory. Without a backup generator, the plant on Farragut Avenue sat idle for almost 12 hours before power was restored. "The temperature in the freezers started going up, and the ice cream began melting," recalled Brendan O'Boyle, 31, who represents the third generation in the family-owned business. Thousands of gallons of sherbet and ice cream stored in two large refrigerated rooms began to thaw as the thermometer inched from 15 below zero to 30 above.