The entrepreneurial spirit runs deep at the Michael C Fina Company. Ashley Fina, grandaughter of the founders, tells us what it's like to work at this well known jewelry and home decor company:
"My company, Michael C. Fina, was founded by my grandparents in 1935. To prepare for the 75th anniversary – which we’ll be celebrating in 2010 – my family and I have been going through our business archives, pulling old photos, newspaper advertisements, catalogues and files that we can use and display.
The other day, I came across a video taken in the early 1980s at my grandmother’s 70th birthday party. It included a number of interviews with people who knew her in different capacities, and I felt an incredible sense of pride and gratitude for the woman they described as having tireless energy and being business savvy so many years before it was considered the norm.
My grandmother, Rose Rosenblatt, met my grandfather, Michael C. Fina, when they worked together at a wholesale silver company, JW Johnson, in lower
Just 15 years after women’s suffrage in the
Seven years later, Rose and Michael went from being business partners to partners in life and were married. Even when they had their two sons, George and Charles (my father and uncle, respectively), Rose continued to work. While she was an active member of the PTA and local little league, and managed to have dinner ready for the family each night, she still steered many important decisions that grew the business. By the 1950s, the whole showroom transitioned and expanded to a two-floor retail store, offering flatware and tableware. And seeing an opportunity to serve the many executives working near the store’s midtown
An entrepreneur and active mother, Rose was an inspiration to all that knew her, especially to the men in her life, her husband and sons. My dad and uncle grew up fully immersed in the business, helping on weekends and during the summer, and officially joining the company when they finished college. Instilled with their parents’ work ethic and spirit of entrepreneurship, they introduced the company’s catalogue and bridal registry businesses in the 1960s.
With stable growth in the corporate gift business my grandmother started, George and Charles saw an opportunity to expand the focus. In 1979, they bought a warehouse in
As my father and uncle took the business to a new level, I joined my cousins, Michael, Jeffrey and Steven in learning the ropes. We all knew early on that we would join the family business when we finished college, and as the youngest and lone female member of the Fina’s 3rd generation, I always felt that I not only needed to meet expectations, but exceed them. Just like my grandmother, I worked hard, and showed a willingness to take chances and seize opportunities. My father and uncle always took an active interest in my ideas and suggestions, and fully embraced the changes my cousins and I proposed to further the business.
Once I finished college, I was eager to start working with my cousins to add to their fresh ideas and perspectives, The spirit of innovation continued with the retail store and the corporate recognition business: websites were created, web based tools were built for managers to recognize employees, and business continued to grow as we went global and began to create employee recognition programs for some of the world’s largest multinational corporations. Each of us has taken on a different role within the company in order to support the growth of business, all-the-while carrying on our grandmother’s work ethic, spirit of entrepreneurship, and innovative thinking. As we celebrate our 75th anniversary and enter a new decade, we all recognize the hard work of the previous generations – especially our grandmother who was so completely ahead of her time. As the only female Fina working with many men, I, in particular, know that my job was made easier because of all she endured and accomplished. Thank you Grandma Rose."