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September 9, 2020

Working in a Family Business, with Bob Prefontaine and Steve Prefontaine

Episode 199:

Bob Prefontaine is Chris’s father and the patriarch of the Prefontaine family. He served in the US Air Force from 1959-1962 before inheriting and further growing a company which he named Preco. In 1991, Bob sold his company to one of the largest welding supply distributors in the country. In 1992, he purchased Skaff Cryogenics, and in 2018, he sold all three of the business entities he owned at that time and retired after a long and successful career.

Steve Prefontaine is Chris’s brother and started his career at Quaker Oats as a regional sales manager and then Kraft General Foods, before changing gears and working with Bob at Skaff Cryogenics from 1995 to 2018 as Vice President and a partner in the company.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How the Prefontaine family has always worked well together, and how Bob decided to bring his son into the family business
  • What the experience of working for the family business was like for Steve, and how Steve decided it was worth taking a significant pay cut to work for his dad
  • Why Bob and Steve believe making the jump to full-time real estate investor is absolutely worth the risk, and how doing so changed their lives
  • How Bob identified opportunities in his career by recognizing the needs of others and finding a way to meet those needs
  • How Bob and Steve overcame starting out at negative $50,000 in their first month at one of their businesses to build the company up to a $6.3 million year
  • What steps Bob and Steve took to rebound from negative revenue, and how they lifted each other up during the tough times
  • How Bob and Steve built up their business strategy with frequent, in-the-moment check ins and daily recaps
  • Why owning real estate and then leasing it back to his business was an important component of Bob’s success
  • How Bob and Steve realized it was time to sell the company, and why it was such a difficult but necessary decision
  • Why the rapidly changing landscape of the business environment was the important push that made Bob and Steve decide to exit the business

Resources:

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