It Takes Generations

Feb 23, 2017

Standing: Herman Zehnder, Linda Zehnder-Trinklein, Fred Zehnder, Ermia Zehnder-Nuechterlein, Eddie Zehnder
Seated: Leonard Zehnder, William Zehnder, Sr., William Zehnder, Jr.

By Al Zehnder, CEO of Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth

It was 1947 and my grandfather was 66. His sons that were in WWII were home and back in the business. Some worked full time and some had other jobs on the side as the business just couldn’t fully support all of them. They were all interested in the continued success of the business.

It had been 18 years since he and my grandmother opened Zehnder’s on Mother’s Day 1929. They had not only weathered the Great Depression and one of the largest fines levied during Prohibition, but the ups and downs that usually come with any business. After my grandmother passed away in 1941, the day to day grind of running Zehnder’s, fell on his shoulders.

He was ready to hand the business off and the next generation were eager to step into leadership. The official day that the business passed from the first generation to the members of the second generation was March 10, 1947. My dad used to joke that….”on that day we got the business, debts and all.”

I am one of four that make up the third generation of leadership and am proud that six of our children (they’re capable young adults actually) represent the fourth generation and are assuming leadership roles alongside the many excellent non-family managers on our leadership team.

Since our beginning, generations of many families have helped build this great business. We plan on being around a long time.

You have my name on it!

Al Zehnder, CEO of Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth

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