• Bob’s Archives
  • April 13, 2023

    The 90 Year Blog

    Broner 90th Anniversary

    This year our company is celebrating its 90th year in business. Hard to believe but true! In 1933, my Grandfather Barney and his father (Great Grandfather) Harry, started selling work gloves to the Ford Motor Company employees working on our country’s first auto assembly line in Highland Park, Michigan. The Broner Glove Company was born.

    Now, granted, our company today looks nothing like what I’m describing in 1933. But comprehending this milestone has me scratching my head! Because according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about two out of every three businesses with employees will last two years. A recent study by McKinsey found that the average lifespan of companies listed in Standard & Poor’s 500 was 61 years in 1958. Today, it is less than 18 years. McKinsey believes that, in 2027, 75% of the companies currently quoted on the S&P 500 will have disappeared. So how is our family business still prospering after 90 years? Are we lucky? Are we blessed? I’ve been pondering this for some time now.

    Bob Barney and David Broner

    It’s A Family Affair

    Now this blog isn’t about documenting the history of our company. For sure I must mention that David Broner (my dad) joined the company in 1961. He’s the one who realized that in addition to selling to manufacturing facilities we could also supply retail stores who sold similar products. So, a new division; Broner Hat and Glove, was born. I joined the company 25 years later in 1986, becoming the fourth generation. My sister Stephanie joined me 12 years after in 1998.

    Stephanie David and Bob Broner

    Values Haven’t Changed

    Again, I’m trying to understand the reasons for our longevity. As I said, this business is nothing like the business my grandfather ran. It is nothing like what my father ran either. Heck, it’s not even close to the business I joined in 1986. It proves the point that the only constant in business is change. The products have changed. Our customers have changed. Our suppliers have changed. Our employees have changed. The way we transact business has changed. I’m trying to think of what hasn’t changed, and the only thing that I can think of is our values and beliefs. It is our culture, built on those values, that remains the same in this family business. I’m about to elaborate on having good coaching. One of our good coaches along the way, Gino Wickman, told us to identify our core values. He suggested we put them on our walls, share them, and recruit like-minded people (his main point). He was right!

    My grandfather started this business with a tremendous work ethic. I can remember as a kid hearing him repeat the phrase “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy and wise”. Still today, work ethic is one of our core values. In addition to that, my father valued education, good coaches, and continual improvement. That is our foundation. My addition to that recipe - have fun with all of it.

    Good Coaches, Education, and Continual Improvement

    I’m lucky. When I started working after college, my father enrolled me in many continual education programs. I’ve been coached and mentored by some great ones, starting with my father and grandfather. I’ve been through the Dale Carnegie Training sales program - twice. I’ve been trained by Winnie Ary one of the best sales coaches ever! I was in TEC (now called Vistage Worldwide, Inc.) for a dozen years with a tremendous group of business owners helping me grow. I already mentioned Gino Wickman and his EOS Worldwide system. Currently I’m enrolled in the Sandler Sales leadership program. I think all of this must play a part in our longevity. Yes, the only constant in business is change. And the only way to keep up with the change is through education and continual improvement. So, thanks Dad!

    Can’t Do It Alone

    Lastly, I must give credit to all the people who have worked here. One thing I know about business – it’s that business goes where business is deserved. It takes a team to earn business. The best sellers in the world can’t be successful unless their team backs them up, delivering on promises. And we have a good team here at Broner.

    Cheers and Thanks!

    So, how do I sum up this little Blog? With cheers and thanks. Cheers and thanks: To our 33 employees (more than half of them have been with us over a dozen years!), to our customers, to our suppliers, to our coaches, and to anyone who has ever helped or said nice things about Broner Glove and Safety or Broner Hat and Glove. 90 years strong, and we don’t take it for granted…

    Cheers! -BB

    Broner 90th Anniversay