At the Helm: Gary H. Richard

By Patricia Olsen

A few minutes with the CEO of P.C. Richard, Farmingdale, Long Island, N.Y.

Generation of family ownership: Third.

Annual revenues: $1.5 billion.

Number of employees: 2,977.

Years with the company: 55.

First job at this company: Manning the switchboard on Saturdays, taking TV service calls and working in the warehouse.

At what age? 16.

Most memorable thing I learned from my father: Everybody has ten little fingers and ten little toes, and you must treat them fairly and equally.

Most memorable thing I learned from my mother: Show respect and care about others.

Best thing about this job: I’m a people person. The retail environment allows you to deal with people, and from people you gain knowledge.

Worst thing about this job: Having to tell someone that they’re not doing their job and they should be looking somewhere else.

One of our greatest successes: We have so many great success stories in our 103 years. But one is not taking the company public in 1994. We are still private and able to do what we want when we want, always in the best interests of P.C. Richard & Son.

Best advice I ever got: Don’t give up.

Quote from our company’s mission statement: Better, better, best. Don’t settle for less until better is best.

On my office wall: P.C. Richard memorabilia—ads, awards and so forth. Years ago my father complained about my photo of a sports figure on the wall and since then, the walls are all about us.

One of my greatest accomplishments: In 1992, when [New York area electronics retailer] Newmark & Lewis went out of business, we took over seven of its locations and turned them into P.C. Richard & Son showrooms in 60 days, doubling our sales volume within one year.

Best thing about working in a family business: You get to spend quality time with family. It makes life and the business an enjoyable package.

Worst thing about working in a family business: Egos can get in the way.

Advice I’d give other family business owners: Keep the lines of communication open. Lack of communication and lack of knowledge creates misunderstanding.

On a day off I like to…. golf, and drag race cars, which I’ve been doing since I was a teen. I have a team, and we travel a circuit.

Philanthropic causes our family supports: I’ve been honored by, and play an active role in, many civic, charitable and non-profit organizations for enhancing the quality of life in communities we serve.

I realized I had emerged from my parents’ shadow when… I became president of the company in 1980. We had 11 showrooms and revenue of $27 million at the time. We now have 66 showrooms.

Future succession plans: My son Gregg is president, my nephew Peter III runs operations, and my daughter Bonni runs human resources. My grandson Scott, who just graduated from college, is working in sales and the warehouse, so we’re already including the fifth generation. We want to be here for another 100 years.

Words I live by: Take care of your customers and build relationships with your vendors. Treat your employees fairly, and you won’t have to worry about the dollars; they will come your way.







Copyright 2013 by Family Business Magazine. This article may not be posted online or reproduced in any form, including photocopy, without permssion from the publisher. For reprint information, contact

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May/June 2013


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