When Max Leahy was in high school and his friends were driving expensive cars, his father told him one thing – he better get a job to pay for it. Richard Leahy, the owner of in Yorktown, installed a work ethic in his son at an early age.
The two men now work together in the family business.
Max, a 2005 graduate, started working part time with his father when he was 13 years old – making deliveries and breaking down boxes. For the last two years he has been working full time at the appliance store.
Having graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh in 2009 with a degree in entrepreneurship and philosophy, the 25-year-old man works in the sales department and is in charge of the social media aspect of the business.
"I enjoy doing this," he said. "I have fun going to work every day."
Although he admits that working with his father, who wants things done a certain way – his way, was a little "rough" in the beginning, there are no conflicts between the two of them and they get along.
Richard Leahy, 62, first started working in the business when he was 25 years old. He first worked at Indian Point testing pipes – which he calls the "most boring job." So, he went on to work part time repairing appliances at a business in Peekskill. When it went out of business, Leahy who knew he liked working with his hands, seized the opportunity.
"I knew I wanted to open my own business," he said. I knew I could do it.
Leahy, who grew up in the Bronx but moved to Yorktown when he was in sixth grade, opened his own business in Yorktown 37 years ago – of those 18 years have been at his present location in the Triangle Shopping Center.
"We have really great customer service," the business owner said. "We'll do anything. The customer is what fuels this machine and we want to make sure there's enough fuel for the machine."
Their Yorktown showroom is large and open, filled with rows of dishwashers, laundry machines, stoves and ovens with a raised customer service platform in the middle. The facility also has two additional showrooms dedicated to home theatres and kitchen.
Leahy said his business will deliver and install appliances to any location – they've even delivered to Martha's Vineyard. They also have their own repair department and would get their customers in touch with the manufacturer if they have any questions. In addition, they will let them know of any recalls or reported problems with the appliance in the past.
Although the bad economy has affected families across the area and their spending habits, Leahy said his business has not taken a hit over the last few years. His son Max said one trend he is seeing now is people tend to repair their appliances instead of purchasing a new one.
And what advice does Richard Leahy have for his son?
"He has to make the decision if he wants to do this," Richard Leahy said. "He has the whole world ahead of him. I'll be there to support him."
Son Max in turn said he has learned a lot from his father, whom he calls a mentor and leadership figure both in his personal and professional life.
"I try to follow as best as I can in his footsteps," Max Leahy said.
Atlantic Appliance is located at 50 Triangle Center in Yorktown Heights. It is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 914-962-2500.