Yankee Home Improvement - March 2018

MAR 2018


THE PLUCK OF THE IRISH My Journey to America From Dublin

Over 29 years ago, I landed in New York with 80 bucks and a round-trip ticket back to Dublin in my pocket. Ever since I had come over for a college internship the summer before, I hadn’t been able to get the United States out of my head. It had seemed so charged with possibility and the opportunity to forge my own path to success. Finally, I was back, though I was a little disappointed at first to discover that the gleaming lights of the city didn’t hide the constant police chases and criminal drama I’d come to expect from watching “Kojak.” Still, New York was unlike anything I’d ever seen. I stayed in the Y that night, fired up with the potential of this bold new direction my life was taking. The next day, I took a bus down to New Jersey, headed to a local Irish bar called the Harbor Inn, and asked if anybody knew where I could find a job. The welcoming folks there directed me down to the boardwalk, where I found work at a company called Mountain Magic Leather, selling various kinds of leather goods to summer tourists around the area. Eager to earn my keep, I worked hard, and before long, the two friendly men who ran the store made me a manager. When that store would close down during the fall and winter, I worked at a ski resort out in Alta, Utah, and did a brief stint at a fish cannery in Anchorage, Alaska. When I returned for the third and final summer I’d spend in New Jersey, the Mountain Magic owners offered to let me help run another store they had in a mall in Hadley. I jumped at the chance. The

I got out and looked around at all the punks and cosmopolitans mulling around the bohemian little city, I knew I’d found a home. From then on, I worked around the clock maintaining three different jobs. People called me crazy, but I was obsessed with proving my value, especially as an immigrant. Almost 30 years later, it seems that drive has paid dividends, now that I’ve realized my dream of owning a successful business. I have surrounded myself with so many incredible employees, friends, and family. With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, it seemed the perfect opportunity to celebrate my Irish roots. As you can imagine, we take the holiday pretty seriously at Yankee Home Improvement, decking out the whole place in green. If you’re curious about what to do around town this St. Paddy’s or want to learn a little background of the special day, read on — we’ve made this whole newsletter focused on the holiday. I’m proud of my Irish heritage, but I’m so glad I decided to immigrate to America all those years ago. This country has been incredibly good to me, giving me everything I needed every step of the way to keep pushing my life and career forward. I went from 80 bucks in my pocket to 80 employees on my team. There’s a reason we call ourselves the “Thank You, America” company. –Ger Ronan

owners loaded me and a couple of employees up in the back of a big van, and we made our way to Northampton. Back then, I had a mohawk, and when

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