Hall of Fame, John Flanner
While most businesses simply try to stay afloat during turbulent times, Flanner's Audio & Video in Brookfield, Wisconsin has managed to thrive for 113 years under four generations of family ownership. These days, it's John Flanner who serves as president of the family-owned business, though the story of Flanner's began when his great-great grandfather Joseph, a successful New Orleans music retailer, moved to Milwaukee and opened his own store, selling pianos, band instruments and published sheet music.
"In 1891, you had to play music yourself or have someone do it for you," says John Flanner. "It evolved from instruments and music to phonographs and radios when electricity became more universal. In my tenure, we morphed from Hi-Fi stereo to home audio and video."
Flanner got his start in the family business as a kid, working in the warehouse and later setting up turntables and product displays. Describing himself as a "retail brat," he says that he "was always hanging around, sweeping, and helping out."