A rich part of the Memphis business community is undoubtedly multi-generational family businesses.
Founded, managed and still run by family members, these businesses face unique challenges as they transition between generations to ensure success.
In 1980, Hal Lansky became the sole owner of Lansky Brothers, the landmark clothier that has supplied Elvis, Johnny Cash and many other well-known musicians with their signature clothing.
As the second-generation owner, Lansky holds a unique perspective, working with both his father and daughter. At 81, his father Bernard Lansky may have relinquished the central role, but has no plans to fully retire.
"He's still going strong," Hal Lansky says. "Dad still has a strong presence on the sales floor. Every stranger he meets is like a lifelong friend."
Hal Lansky's own transition into the business was seamless as he began working in the store as a youngster.
"My dad got me out of the cradle," he says with a laugh. During elementary school and high school, he cleaned or stocked inventory.
"While I didn't have a choice at that time, I've never thought about doing anything else," he says.
Everyone in the family works seven days a week.
Hal Lansky has watched his 27-year-old daughter Julie become more and more involved with the business. After a brief mentoring period, Julie Lansky currently runs Lansky 126, which offers premium denim brands and contemporary, upscale clothing. Her father says she's not only working independently, but she offers an unexpected benefit.
"When Julie came into the business, we got a new set of eyes and a new way of thinking," he says. "Now I know how my dad felt because it takes a lot of pressure off having new perspective and new energy. You can't describe it."
Chip Cayce, president and CEO of Lifetime Industries, entered the family business in a different way.
He started working at Lifetime, which manufactures and distributes air filters for residential and commercial HVAC systems, in 1991 after earning an engineering degree and an MBA.
"At that time, we had about 30 employees and there wasn't any other level of management," Cayce says. "My focus then was to simply get educated."
Cayce didn't transition straight into the business, but he was no stranger to it. From age 14 to 18, he learned by doing. "I did desk work, invoicing, or took customer calls," he says. "I spent time in the plant, working in shipping or receiving or prepping raw materials."
When his father retired in 1995 and moved to Florida, Cayce assumed the day-to-day operations at Lifetime at age 26.
"My dad essentially left and didn't come back, but he was always just a phone call away. I think it worked because my dad backed away and let me make my own mistakes," he says.
Cayce's father had been indoctrinated the same way when his father retired and moved to Florida.
Cayce has been at the helm now for 20 years and has watched the company grow to 100 employees. Like Hal Lansky, he remains close to his father.
"I think the biggest difference between us is that I may want to take more risks than him," Cayce says.
With two young children and a newborn, Cayce is far from having a protege, but finds his son showing an interest. "He likes to come with me, and like I did at that age, climb on boxes or play on the pallets," he says.
Ensuring that families maintain healthy relationships through the years depends largely on the ability to execute sound management principles. Hal Lansky and Cayce both say that, like in any other business, only family members who work in the business benefit from it. For instance, Julie Lansky's twin sister Melissa never showed an interest in working at Lansky and now works for a local corporation.
And neither Hal Lansky nor Cayce would trade their role if given the chance. Both feel fortunate to have worked alongside their fathers, successfully managing generations of change.