Editor’s note: This story will be part of a section in our June 6 print edition that will focus on family-owned companies. The section commemorates the centennial of Crain Communications, publisher of Automotive News.
For some in auto retailing, joining the family business is a rite of passage. The Pritchards have to earn that opportunity, and when they do, they face a decision: formally join or not?
"A lot of people think going back to the family business is an easy decision, but if you are in the family business, you realize it's one of the most difficult decisions," said Angela Pritchard Spiteri, now vice president of operations at Pritchard Family Auto Stores.
Angela, 29, started her career outside the family business -- in the insurance industry -- and then became an assistant for her father, Joe Pritchard, owner of Pritchard Family Auto Stores. Joe requires that his children work for a company outside the business before they work for the family.
"It's humbling to start at the bottom and work your way up," Angela said. "Working as my father's assistant was what set me up to be where I am today."
As an assistant, Angela learned her father's vision, his work style and his expectations, she said. She helped implement his plan by managing the fleet operations, growing the commercial business and formalizing standard operating procedures.
Most people "see me as going and working for my dad. They [didn't] see a [recent] college graduate getting to work side by side every day with a CEO and president. There's so much opportunity there."