We thought there was another step up - another idea of how to run a business - how to manage a business - how to grow a business other than what our Dad did which you could say was old school. That is what we were looking for and what we got from Brookstone.
When we worked with Brookstone we were being challenged constantly. Decisions were made with reason, analysis, statistics, and debate. We deeply analyzed things that our Dad didn’t have the education to do and decisions he made in 5 seconds by the seat of his pants. We were constantly challenged on people - the people we were hiring, the people we were firing, budgets, analysis on the costs, constant challenge. It made us stronger. But that is what Brookstone taught us how to do, how to become a professional organization.
You can embrace the statistical analysis, the necessary rigorous challenging of the new markets and the new globalization that has occurred since the 1960’s. Combine that with a true partnership with Brookstone - shared vision and leadership. That’s what we did. You can come out the other side with dignity, honor, friendship and success as long as you have trust and you believe in the people you are with.
Even though we were challenged by our Dad in a hard old school way, we were challenged by the Brookstone team in a rigorous new school way. Our team came out the other side still friends- me, my brother and the senior team. That is what I am most proud of. I appreciate the last ten years.
It's been a wonderful, great ride for the last ten or eleven years. It wasn’t easy.
The expertise that the Brookstone guys had and that fortitude, that backing, that is what you really need when you make tough decisions. I didn’t worry about the immediate results because we made the right long term decisions together. We make the right long term decisions for the business. You do what you have to do and Brookstone’s long term backing fortifies you in business. When you have a financial partner that says to you we will take the risk. We will do the right thing. It means everything.
In the last two years a Partner at the firm and I have connected in a very unique way. Where we are almost finishing each other’s sentences and really can understand exactly what had to be done, when it had to be done and how to do it. I want to thank him for that.
I really cherish the relationships that have made this happen over the past ten or eleven years.
It's a small group, each individual inside the firm brings a different perspective and a different talent that sheds a different light on any given topic.
The level of intellect and horsepower brought to the table is significant. For the typical entrepreneurial guy like myself that pretty much had to make every decision by himself, it’s certainly a hell of a resource to have.
There’s healthy debate - not everyone agrees all the time but they challenge me to rethink and question my own ideas and beliefs in some areas. I think it always results in a better outcome. A more thoughtful outcome.
I would say it really boils down to guys that are very open minded, bring a lot of diverse experience and diverse backgrounds to the table.
I think the group as a whole is an extremely honest group of people. Very ethical.
The Brookstone guys are great to work with. They are very thorough, thoughtful and diligent in their approach. They approach business from a very practical and pragmatic perspective.
I think they are very effective communicators with us as co-investors and lending sources. Compared to other private equity firms, I think Brookstone is much more upfront, open and pro-active in their communications. Good, bad, indifferent, we hear about things real time. They really view us as true partners in the relationship and not like lenders who are only there when you need them.
I think their approach to the business and how they deal with us is much more relationship oriented than other folks. Although they are from the east coast, we view them as having more of a Midwestern kind of values set. They are ethical based, moral based, and have a moral compass in how they treat people and deal with people in businesses. I think from that perspective they are head and shoulders above a lot of the other firms that we’ve had relationships with.
Focused on aligning everyone's interests – management, capital partners. Good and honorable people. They work hard to understand your business. Brookstone cares about aligning their interest with management. They care very much about the capital partners in their deals. The firm plays a key role not only as an investor and as an equity provider but also operationally.