By Saving His Old Company, One Man Saves 1,500+ Jobs
Robert Levin couldn't see his former employees lose their jobs in a bankruptcy, so he stepped in with his own money.
The text came in a few weeks ago from one of my favorite people... Robert Levin of Levin Furniture. "Marty. I may have some good news for you. Hold tight and I'll let you know."
The cryptic text... turned out to be like a note from Santa Claus the week before Christmas. A week later Robert Levin stepped out of retirement, wrote a big check, and bought back the business his grandparents started 100 years ago. In the process he saved more than 1500 jobs. Men... women... mothers... fathers... people supporting their families. I don't say this much... but it was truly heroic! Said Levin "It's good to be back. This is my family." Truth is, Robert Levin couldn't get out of the way of a kind heart and a desire to make a difference.
Robert Levin (center) is well known for his generosity.
I reached out to Robert in September. We were renovating the Ursta house. You may recall, Nick Ursta was dying. He had mesothelioma. He got it volunteering at Ground Zero after 9/11. His wife Margaret asked for our help. She wanted us to remodel the home they had bought and Nick had planned to renovate before he got sick. Of course we said yes. Countless strangers helped us: new roof, new siding, new kitchen and bathroom, paint and flooring. They finished the house only days before Nick died.
Margaret and Nick Ursta and me in their home last year while it was under renovation.
One thing was missing... furniture. That's where Robert Levin stepped in. Two years after he sold his furniture business... he donated thousands of dollars in gift certificates to furnish the Ursta home. At the time he sent this note along with the gift certificates. "My pleasure Marty. I'd recommend the Pleasant Hills store for the furniture. It has a clearance center and a full selection of products," knowing we'd want to get as much for the money as we could. It was an amazing gesture by an amazing man.
Thanks to Robert Levin's generosity, Margaret Ursta was able to choose furniture for the home volunteers helped renovate.
This time... this gesture... was even greater. Truth is, due to some mishandling by a private equity firm, Levin Furniture was teetering on failure. In fact I was told if Robert Levin didn't save the business with his own money late Wednesday night, liquidation was set to begin Thursday morning! That's astounding.
Robert Levin promises more: a community based furniture store with employees making a difference in the community every day. I like that philosophy a lot.
Maybe once he's done playing hero... we can sign Robert Levin up for Sparkt!. He certainly makes a difference... every day.
This note... just in from Robert Levin..."Heard you sang my praises Marty! We had an amazing couple of days." Folks...I call em as I see em. By any definition..Robert Levin is a hero. I'm pretty sure his employees, whose jobs and families are now safe, would agree.