I thought of those comments this weekend when I read an article in St. Louis Post-Dispatch about Jaffe Lighting closing its doors. Jaffe was one of several companies SBM profiled in our January 2000 issue that focused on businesses entering their third century.
It’s hard to imagine the business no longer existing. It began as a hardware store back in 1892. The company survived the great Depression, two World Wars and numerous other trials and tribulations. When it opened for business, Benjamin Harrison was president of the United States. The company endured many obstacles over the years, but the recent economic downturn and housing crisis were too much to handle.
Just a few years ago, the company employed 45. Jaffe’s fate should be a lesson to all business owners. No matter how good (or bad) things seem to be going, there is a fine line between ultimate success and failure when it comes to owning a small business.
--Ron Ameln, SBM