Who is next in line?

February, 2019

By Melissa Hart

Deep in the Adirondacks, a longtime institution recently underwent a quiet transition.

Donna and Tom Amoroso of the Leather Artisan on Route 3 in Childwold, between Cranberry Lake and Tupper Lake, had been making and selling leather purses, wallets, and other products for over 40 years when they inadvertently landed into a succession plan for the business.

It started about three years ago, when Tom Amoroso was joking with a customer about selling his business. Employee Broyce Guerette overheard and later approached him about buying. After a series of discussions, a transition plan was put into place, with Broyce and his wife, Allison, learning the ins and outs of making the products and running the shop.

As part of the transition, the Amorosos leased the business to their successors, and stayed on to work side-by-side through the summer. “It gave me some time to work with them to make sure everything was working just fine. We definitely wanted them to succeed,” Tom said.

After months of preparation, the Guerettes, who are both 23 and graduated Tupper Lake Central School together, closed on the property this fall. The Amorosos, both in their 70s, have officially retired and moved to Pennsylvania.

For Allison Guerette, the mentoring proved invaluable. “Tom and Donna really helped us out, and made it very easy to take over,” she said, adding that the timing worked out perfectly, with the Guerettes getting settled in and welcoming their first child in November.

As Baby Boomers continue their wave into retirement, many small “mom-and-pop” businesses that occupy the main streets in Adirondack communities will be part of a “silver tsunami,” and not all of the transitions will go as smoothly as the Leather Artisan’s did.

Read the full article in the Adirondack Explorer

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