Following dad's footsteps: Son, daughter take on family businesses
PRESCOTT - Estate lawyer Angela Walker jokes that the best part of her firm partnership with father Charles Walker is bragging to her younger brother that in the office she gets to call him "Chuck."
Her father teases he never wanted his daughter to be a lawyer, nonetheless imagined she'd one day become his partner. Yet he gave the former human resources consultant who joined him 12 years ago the corner office with a view of Thumb Butte. She retorts his third-floor center office has more square footage, and a nice view of this historic frontier's downtown.
The father-daughter's back-and-forth camaraderie is evidence of a love and respect they agree is the backbone of their business and familial relationship.
Greg Raskin gets a bit nostalgic when he chats about his family's fine jewelry legacy, one started by his grandfather, Melvin, who in 1939 opened his first jewelry store in Oklahoma City. Seven year later, Melvin opened a Phoenix store where his son, Lynn, worked part-time during his high school years.
In 1963, Lynn Raskin borrowed money from his father to open his own store in Prescott at what is now the Goodwin Street Pharmacy. In 1969, Lynn Raskin opened the flagship store on Gurley Street.
Greg Raskin remembers during his high school years that his father would let him sweep the floors and take out the trash, but almost never left him talk to any of the customers. He and his three siblings never voiced interest in making this a three-generation affair.
In 1991, Lynn Raskin asked his son to leave his retail job in Washington, D.C. to manage the opening of his third store in Frontier Village.
"I know my Dad was ecstatic that one of us was coming into the business, continuing a rich tradition of fine jewelry in the Raskin family," Greg Raskin said.
What he did not realize was some of the pitfalls that come with working for one's father.
"It was hard for my father to see me as an adult. He still looked at me as his little boy," Greg Raskin said.
Over time, though, their business ties tightened, and Lynn Raskin, 79, so admired his son's business acumen that when he retired in 2002, he sold the two-store company to his son.
"He was my mentor, and he's my hero, that's for sure," said the younger Raskin, 49.
The Walkers said their partnership has been relatively seamless, with each ones' talents blending together for the benefit of clients who come to them to help resolve family affairs with love and compassion. Angela Walker and her husband, Chip Weber, do not have any children, so she will not have a successor. Her father jokes that just means she can never retire; she is the legacy.
"We have a lot of fun," Charles Walker, 67, as he teases his daughter about what her gift to him will be for this Father's Day. (A book)
"I get to learn a lot from him," said Angela Walker, 47, who earned her law degree at her father's alma mater, Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.
Asked about how he feels about his son's willingness to follow in his footsteps, Lynn Raskin said, "I am very proud."
"He's done very well," Lynn Raskin said of his son who started with two stores, closed one, opened a second, and then in 2011 merged the entire business into the one downtown store. "He's quite a star in the community as well."
On Father's Day, the Walkers and the Raskins both like to get together as a family; this year Charles Walker will be with his wife, Nancy, and step-children and grandchildren in Omaha. The Raskins will likely have a family picnic in Prescott.
It is clear, though, that for both Angela Walker and Greg Raskin, Father's Day is not just a once-a-year holiday.
Every day, Angela said she and her father consult on cases, and she is grateful to witness, and embrace, his "value system, ethics and integrity."
"I'm just so blessed to have both of my parents," Angela Walker said.
Greg Raskin said he is lucky he gets to have breakfast or lunch with his Dad two or three times a week.
"We're best friends," said Greg Raskin, who with his wife, Renee, have two sons, Alex, 20, and Drew, 17.
So might there be a fourth-generation in the Raskin jewelry business?
"It would be nice to see a fourth-generation. But you never know what your kids are going to do. If it happens, it happens," Lynn Raskin said.
Follow Nanci Hutson on Twitter@HutsonNanci Reach her at 928-445-3333 Ext. 2041 or 928-642-6809