Val's View: Family And Longevity at Anthony's
Posted on 19 January 2021
We all want to make memories that last a lifetime and forge connections in our personal and professional lives. After all, having meaningful interpersonal relationships is one of the keys to longevity. In that spirit, I’d like to share a little insight into the Anthony’s Ladies Apparel family that has grown and endured for more than a century.
I’ll start by introducing one of the employees who has been here the longest. Her name is Margaret, and she has been with the company for 54 years! Around the Anthony’s warehouse, where she is the manager, she is affectionately called “Miss Margaret” and “Grandma”. When I cornered her one morning at around 7 am to ask her a few questions about her years with the company, she was reluctant to talk about herself. Luckily, I was able to “trick her” (or so she said) into divulging some information.
I began by asking her what her best day at Anthony’s has been so far. Her reply was, “The day I found out Kristin was going to be a momma, I had pretty much given up on that idea.” You see, Margaret babysat all the Anthony family’s kids, and she recalls Kristin Anthony, who is now the head of the E-Commerce department, bossing her around at 3 years old. In fact, Kristin’s earliest memory is of Margaret trying to keep up with her as they chased each other down the street near Kristin’s childhood home.
Margaret has raised a village, all while consistently working hard for decades. I took a little tour around the corporate office and warehouse and gleaned a few words describing this mighty lady: Firecracker. Dynamite. Loyal. Reliable. A real pistol. I would also like to add the term “no-nonsense”.
When I asked Margaret what her hardest day was, she said, “every day” with a familiar laugh. I also asked her what the secret to her longevity at Anthony’s has been, and she said, “family.” The last question I asked her was what Anthony’s Ladies Apparel means to her, and without hesitation, she said again, “family.”
Anthony’s is very much a family business to its core. Currently the 3rd and 4th generations (Boomers and Millennials) are working alongside to continue the success of the brand, modernize it just a little, and bring Anthony’s into the 21st century. “Most would run at the idea that there are 6 family members working together, but somehow we make it work,” says Kristin. Archer Anthony Barry oversees the operations of the business while her husband and son (both named Danny) manage the buying for the business.
Pope Anthony met Margaret when he was 10 years old and started helping in the business. After school he would sweep the floors at the old Anthony’s department store in downtown West Palm Beach and worked alongside Margaret. He then started to load the company truck and eventually worked his way to being behind the wheel. These days there are several more trucks, and though Pope occasionally drives one, he spends most of his time in his office as the president of the company.
The work ethic runs deep here, and when Kristin and her brother, Marvin, came on board 6 years ago to build the Anthony’s Ladies Apparel website from scratch, they hit the ground running. With no background in e-commerce, they set off to follow in the footsteps of their great grandparents’ vision. They helped shift the Anthony’s customer base nationwide and have overseen the shipment of Floridian resort wear to loyal patrons throughout the U.S.
These kids (I jest: they may be 25 years my junior, but they are still my bosses) are driven and yet humble, and for siblings, it amazes me how they think in tandem and solve problems daily without even cursing at each other! The Anthony’s legacy is not a burden, but a healthy respect for the achievements that they hope will continue for many more generations to come.
I can say that having been a member of this team for 15+ years, the laughter, banter, and antics make the hard work feel like hardly working. And as Marvin says, “We are evolving, but we have miles to go.” At Anthony’s Ladies Apparel, 126 years of business is just the beginning!