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The Profit: A Lack of Passion Sinks Family Business

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70% of second generation business fail. Why? Because the children who inherit the businesses often lack the passion and skills to keep it going. Marcus Lemonis found that out first hand when he visited a Pasadena flower shop in this week's episode of The Profit.

70% of second generation business fail. Why? Because the children who inherit the businesses often lack the passion and skills to keep it going. Marcus Lemonis found that out first hand when he visited a Pasadena flower shop in this week’s episode of The Profit.

(Photo by: CNBC / c NBC Universal, Inc. )

When Jacob Maarse opened his florist shop in the 1950’s, he poured his heart and soul into the business making it one of the most successful shops in all of Pasadena. He supplied flowers for inaugurations, celebrity galas and the famous Rose Bowl Parade. But now, Jacob is gone and under his son Hank’s leadership the business has accumulated $300,000 in debt and is losing money every year.

Enter entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis with a deal. He’ll put $100,000 into the business in return for 25% of the profits going forward. In order to seal the deal though, Hank has to allow Marcus to run the business for a week.

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Hank is reluctant but knowing that his mother is now spending her life savings to keep the company a float, he has no choice but to agree. They seal the deal with a handshake – but  it’s the start of nothing but trouble.

Right away Marcus spots several ways to make the flower shop more shopable. He removes the clutter, creates a clearance section in the back to reduce the inventory (some of which has been in the store for five years) and makes it easy for the customers to see the floral designers – the real show stoppers of the shop.

Marcus also installs an inventory control system, new lighting, security cameras, GPS systems in the delivery vans, repaints the walls, lays new tiles on the floor and shows Hank how to save money on quality flowers.

The changes are a nice boost for the workers and the customers but there’s a bigger problem  – Hank. And as Marcus says, “people can be the hardest thing to fix.”

Hank’s idea of leadership is to let everyone struggle through the day. The driver’s deliver flowers in un-air conditioned vans with old school maps to find their way. The warehouse workers track inventory by hand in a notebook. The store’s general manager Marina doesn’t know what things cost or how much money they’re making and she allows the workers to wander in late.

Marcus demotes her to retail manager but her lack of skills aren’t really her fault. It all trickles down from Hank who is sleep walking through the day.

Hank defends his behavior by saying he’s not comfortable with confrontations. The truth is, Hank didn’t choose this business, he inherited it and the stress of living up to his father’s memory has caused him to shut down.

Running a small business is hard. When you lack the passion, it’s impossible so Marcus pushes hard to see if there’s even a spark left in Hank. But as the shop returns to its former glory, the old employees who started under Jacob Maarse are excited and inspired. Even Marina, who was demoted and had every right to be upset, put her anger aside in order to save the business.

Reopening day was a huge success. Sales increased. Customers loved the new look of the store and employee morale was at an all time high.

But Hank was on his way home. He told Marcus that he figured the day was almost over, so why not?

Why not? “A successful business owner shows up early and leaves last,” says Marcus. And to run out on reopening day just proves that Hank isn’t interested in being a leader.

On most make-over shows, the episode would end with Hank seeing the error of his ways. He apologizes and the company thrives.  Not on The Profit. In what has to be one of the crazier moments in biz make-over history, Hank tells Marcus that he’s no longer interested in the partnership deal because Marcus didn’t make good on his promises.

Even though we heard Hank acknowledge the $150,000 spent on improvements earlier in the show, he claims Marcus didn’t spend more than a few thousand on lights and “graffiti” on the wall. Then he claims that Marcus promised a 200% increase in sales in one week. No one would make such an insane claim. Still Hank used that as grounds for canceling their contract.

In the end, Marcus left without a partnership agreement or his $150,000. He says he plans to take legal action but he better hurry. With the way Hank is handling the shop and his employees, Jacob Maarse Florist will be bankrupt by the end of the year.

What Do You Think?

What do you do when your passion for your job starts to fade? Are their ways to get it back or is it best to move on? Leave your answers in the comment section below.

More From Payscale

5 Steps to Finding Your Passion

Is Following Your Passion Leaving You Broke?

Family Businesses Shine During Difficult Times

 


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Bryan
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Bryan

I just finished watching this episode for the second time. Hank is such a fool. I’m surprised the business is still afloat, it is not because of him by any means. Hank is just another example of a spoiled kid, getting a family business and never really having to work for anything. If I was his mother I would be ashamed and would have sold the business. On national television, hank made himself out to be a liar and their,… Read more »

Ilene
Guest
Ilene

It’s the second time I watched this episode, reveling in Marcus’ class and strength of character, and wondering how Hank could be that uninspired and selfish. I do hope that Hanks’s real customers have seen this show and stopped patronizing it. The bright, creative team of floral designers, and Marina, will all find much better jobs (surely, they did already) and not need to spend time with an unethical, weak boss. I wonder, if he’ll need a job, what will… Read more »

G. Glenn
Guest
G. Glenn

I watched the episode for the 2nd time tonight and I’m just is disbelief that Hank Marsh could not only not honor his handshake deal with Marcus Leomonis by making such aneemic excuses, but to claim Lemonis’s stunning upgrades to the business and th business model. I hate it fof the employees who wete obviously enjoying the direction and are enthusiastic with the effiient and appealing layout of the renovated store. Very seldom do you see people snatch defeat from… Read more »

Susan Sanders
Guest
Susan Sanders

It completely boggles the mind to see what Hank did to Marcus. His stupidity was a shining light for everyone to see. Notice how every comment is negative towards Hank. Such unity in the public outcry is proof positive that Hank is an idiot. Let the future reward him according to what he has done to Marcus.

Sammy
Guest
Sammy

Hank Maarse is an unethical cheater, a horrible leader or business owner, not to mention a punk with no balls. He’s pathetic. What a sissy! Marcus is a great guy and obviously a genius at business. Even though Marcus didn’t maintain 25% ownership in the business thanks to Hank’s complete lack of character or decency, the fact is Marcus still made changes and improvements to the business that Hank NEVER would have done or even had the slightest clue how… Read more »

Marcus Clenney
Guest
Marcus Clenney

Marcus Lemonis just announced on Twitter that he got his money back from the mom. I just cannot believe I actually saw that behavior in a 49-year-old adult. So basically he grew up a rich kid, lived his adult as an entitled know-nothing, never really matured at all beyond about the age of 14….. I just couldn’t believe it. Their Facebook page gets riddled with negative comments over, and over, and over. I wish or hope that the mom tells… Read more »

Carrie M
Guest
Carrie M

The show was re-broadcast tonight and since I live in the L.A. area, I will make sure I do not order from them and that my friends know about the owner as well.

What a shame for the mother, who enjoyed success with her husband and utter failure with her son, who is not only a poor businessman but an unethical liar.

Robert
Guest
Robert

Hank is a “momas boy” and Marcus was right to call him a punk. I hope Hanks mother saw this episode to see what a jerk her son really is.

Dan Swan
Guest
Dan Swan

Hank is a coward, thief, and liar. You lost my business!
Marina is a hottie! Find work elsewhere babe you deserve better.

sw
Guest
sw

They deserve every loss they’re gonna suffer. Hope the building has equity! I also
wonder if the bank knew about the loan from mom before granting $100,000 loan?
I bet he’s a criminal. The mom also seemed to support the son. This is the other side of
the banking crisis.

Pete New York
Guest
Pete New York

You can’t teach someone to be a passionate leader. Either you are passionate or you are not. The technical part of the business can be installed however if the business leader could care less about the business and the employees winning and being successful then the business will fail. Sorry the business will have a closed sign shortly.

Justin N
Guest
Justin N

Hank is a big fat bum! I can’t believe how he lied to Marcus by making all those false accusations. We have everything on tape buddy! He is going to go down in a hurry with all that debt. F*** Hank!

JSCHULTZ
Guest
JSCHULTZ

It was painful to watch Hank display that level of immaturity at 49 years old. Almost unbelievable. Guy gets handed a multi million dollar business and just squander it. Sad.

Grant
Guest
Grant

I love this show and recommend it to anyone- especially teachers.  If we had more people running our country more efficiently, we would not be in the situation we are in.  Hank was completely dishonest with Marcus- what completely disrespectful person to Marcus, but mostly to his employees and their families.  He is responsible for their work environment and the fact that his business will only shrink and not expand.  They will probably all lose their jobs because of his… Read more »

Buckeye163
Guest
Buckeye163

I just watched the show the other night and I couldn’t believe how Hank treated Marcus. I hope that the word gets out about the “unethical business practices” that the owner uses and I deeply hope that Marcus not only gets his money back but he also needs to charge Jacob Maarse for his time as a consult. I hope Marcus takes them to the cleaners. I really want to know how this all turns out.

Mike Esquivel
Guest
Mike Esquivel

As a business  owner I learned a long time ago,as the owner you are the first one to get there and last last one to leave and the last to get pay!Hank is no business owner, has no clue how to run that business ,it was served to him on a silver platter.He should man up and make his father proud!!!

Brian
Guest
Brian

Hank Maarse is a low class jerk. I think Marcus did his best and he is entitled to his money back or the contract. However, I now hope the Jacob Maarse store goes out of business and I would tell my friends in Pasedena to start a petition to not use Jacob Maarse for the Rose Bowl.

ListentoME
Guest
ListentoME

I would open a new store and hire Marina to run it. In 3 months, Hank would be selling Jacob Maarse to me.

Princess Mac Grij
Guest
Princess Mac Grij

Marcus is such

an amazing, talented all best character of a successful businessman.  Hank on the other hand is such a dumb, childish, and no integrity. All I heard from him most of the time ” I do not know”. Marcus was so right Hank does not even want to be there, not even trying to save his father’s legacy. There is no gratefulness whatsoever.

Mark Neils
Guest
Mark Neils

I don’t know Marcus. I knew Jacob Maarse well. He was from the Netherlands. My mother took me to his first second and third (present) shop as a child. Jacob was close to my wife’s family (they are Dutch). He worked from first light buying flowers by hand in the flower mart, to late at night growing and harvesting some of his own flowers. he was driven. He was also often at the shop, greeted everyone, and everyone felt he… Read more »

John Bishop
Guest
John Bishop

I have had a somewhat wild career in the financial industry and have worked in a variety of proprietary trading firms owned by either family or a small number of partners.  There is a strong tendency for even first generation owners to be satisfied with what they have created and lose their drive to improve (Good is the Enemy of Great).  What happens next is the business becomes a toy to them that they are happy with as long as… Read more »

marie
Guest
marie

 Wow what a show! Reality at its best…That guy Hank is a spoiled brat that has never done anything on his own-everything has been handed to him(he may be a only child).He is going to drain his soon to be POOR mother dry.You could tell he had a gambling problem or some kind of money spending problem when the mother gave him that look when they talked about handling money…I think hank was pissed he didn’t get to go out… Read more »

Gina
Guest
Gina

I read on facebook the Maarse Family paid back the $150k. Looks like Mommy came to the rescue. I feel sorry for the employees, they were starting to feel energized only to be deflated by Hank’s hurt feelings and immature behavior. I wish the employees much success and would not want them to lose there jobs because of the owner’s behavior. 

Javier
Guest
Javier

Hank, should really be worried about those companies he has accounts with after this show.  I bet they will be lighting up his phones to get what he owes them and or wondering if he is going to stiff them on their bill too!  What a putz!

Cam
Guest
Cam

My grandfather, a successful businessman himself, had a favorite saying “Every third generation ends up in overalls.”  That’s what you’ve got going on here.  Nobody in their right mind would hire a milquetoast like Hank to run this business.  Mommie Dearest should run him out of management and hire a real manager….hey give Marina a shot!  I too want to find out if Marcus got his money back.

Walt.
Guest
Walt.

What a jerk.  Aside from immediate improvements to his failing business Hank could have gotten a lot of good exposure from a feel-good story about a business turnaround.  He basically was looking at what should have been a nice one hour commercial for his business. Instead he shows he’s a greedy ungrateful pig.  No… 25% of the profits isn’t too much.  Hank would get to keep 75% of something instead of 100% of losses.  I expect those potential profits will… Read more »

Cahow
Guest
Cahow

I’d never heard of “The Profit” nor Marcus Lemonis; I simply stumbled upon the show while flipping channels. WOW! I was so sold on this show that I DVR’d a repeat episode (it was the last 10 minutes I initially caught) and have rewatched it twice. Karen: really appreciate your background on Pasadena and it’s cultural ways. Very insightful. Patrick: Boo-Hoo! I guess you’ve never watched a SINGLE business take-over show before from Hell’s Kitchen to Tabitha’s Salon Take-over. These… Read more »

Henry
Guest
Henry

Great show, wild finish.  Marcus is one cool cucumber.   He deserves a lot of credit for keeping his cool when Hank reneged on the deal. Not only did Hank blow his opportunity to partner with Marcus in a very profitable business.   But I would expect his disgraceful, unprofessional performance on the show will actually cause the business’s decline to accelerate.   I would never buy from Maarse now.   Much of the florist business for a shop like Maarse is commercial.    Many… Read more »

Derk D
Guest
Derk D

It’s quite likely the business will continue to hemorrhage money for the next one or two years until Hank’s mom runs out of money and the business declares bankruptcy. I want to echo all the support for Marcus here by adding that we should also recognize all the intangible value he brought to the business during the short week: he introduced new systems and processes into the business which, if followed (and I doubt they will be), could put the… Read more »

Frank B
Guest
Frank B

As a small business owner who has to practice tough love on occasion I can relate to Marcus’ style. Kowtowing to an employee’s poor performance and enabling their deficiencies as Patrick S. suggested may provide a temporary “feel good” emotion but long term is detrimental to them and to the business. Marina is proof that sometimes it takes heat to remove the impurities. Unfortunately she is somewhat of an anomaly in the work place in America. Most workers when put in that position would whine and attempt to… Read more »

J Rob
Guest
J Rob

I agree with Anthony. Need a follow up. Hank is a spoiled brat. In one week expecting profits. Come on. I think Marcus hit the nail on the head in the episode we he said to Hank, “I don’t think you want t do this”. I think Hank lived a comfortable life where dad took care of all of the decisions. Once he passed, rest his soul, Hank hasn’t wanted the responsibility. He should sell the business and find something… Read more »

Mr. Tran
Guest
Mr. Tran

After watching the episode, Hank was acting like a child and a cheat. Hank made a deal and then disclaim that Marcus pour a lot of money to renovating and improving the whole place and he thinks sales will increase 200% in a very short period of time. Like Anthony mention, hopefully there’s a follow-up on this if Marcus will take legal action or something.  To the questions from the “What do you think?” section. If my passion for my… Read more »

Al Gallagher
Guest
Al Gallagher

Patrick needs to rewatch the episode.  After the changes that Marcus made and the new “Grand Opening” occurred, several of the employees commented on how much they liked the changes  and how they felt a new enthusiasm for the business.  This included the general manager who was demoted early on.  Rather than feel sorry for herself, she carried on in a new role for which she was better suited and became a success in her own right.  When Marcus complimented… Read more »

Rob Leder
Guest
Rob Leder

Turning around floundering family businesses will obviously involve partnering with people who possess little in the way of business acumen.  But good God, Marcus, you have to draw the line somewhere.  At least invest in owner-operators who show some measure of character and potential.  After a few minutes of conversation with this aimless middle-aged milksop who sponges off his mommy and can barely string together a coherent sentence, I would not have been willing to hire him as a dishwasher.

Andrea
Guest
Andrea

The editing really make Hank seem like a punk. I don’t think Marcus was an ass at all. He called it like it is in a non “Hells Kitchen” type of way. He did compliment the retail manager after she proved to him to be a team player. Hank was a 14 year old who didn’t have the passion, but the pressure to keep the business afloat without the knowledge. I do want to know how the business is doing!

G. Glenn
Guest
G. Glenn

I watched the episode for the 2nd time tonight and I’m just is disbelief that Hank Marsh could not only not honor his handshake deal with Marcus Leomonis by making such aneemic excuses, but to claim Lemonis’s stunning upgrades to the business and th business model. I hate it fof the employees who wete obviously enjoying the direction and are enthusiastic with the effiient and appealing layout of the renovated store. Very seldom do you see people snatch defeat from… Read more »

Carol
Guest
Carol

I was enchanted with Jacob Maarse florist, but did notice how employees came in late and some old dusty inventory remained untended. One fabulous old-timer personally called me when he realized my funeral flower arrangement just was not right. And he made it right. The “business” people did not have a clue. The creative employees were having to “sneak” to do quality work.

So so sad. I mourn the loss of Jacob Maarse.

Marina
Guest
Marina

Hank is a LOW LIFE . He is a cocaine addict and everyone who works for him knows this. The people he hires are not professional and their customer service sucks. I have been to the store many times only to get ideas for arrangements and his workers told me I can’t walk in the store to browse if I don’t shop and spend at least fifty dollars! Lol I never went back again. My guess is they will be… Read more »

yogy
Guest
yogy

What the hell – who in their right mind would turn down this sweet deal? These ops only come along once in a life time what a missed op. I would have stuck with Mr. Marcus for a better future. We should pray that Hank sees the errors of his ways and changes. He’s not a loser, just lost.

Bernard Gilliam
Guest
Bernard Gilliam

I really don’t have much to say that hasn’t been said already. I hope the mother sees her son (Hank) for what he is and does something about it. He’s a loser and a punk, and he will eventually cost about 30 people their jobs.

Markus is awesome!

Bill Martinez
Guest
Bill Martinez

MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY WHA WHA WHA HANKIE WENT POOPIE MOMMY MOMMY I POOPIE WHA WAH WAH MOMMY MOMMY

Ms, Moore
Guest
Ms, Moore

I was hoping to look up this business and it was out of business…

Kraig P.
Guest
Kraig P.

I’ve worked with several business where the second generation takes over. I all cases the business was left to the kids in a positive and healthy cash flow position. In almost all cases I’ve noticed the children feel entitled and don’t understand or care the amount of work and hours the parents put into the business. ..my observation goes as follows THE FIRST GENERATION BUILDS IT. THE SECOND GENERATION KILLS IT.

Kelly Smith
Guest
Kelly Smith

O my GOD. Hank is such a ittle bitch. How embarrassing.

paintingrl
Guest
paintingrl

Hank is a total loser. Marcus is awesome, he has vision and integrity. I hope he did get his money back. I love the show!

Jacob Jones
Guest
Jacob Jones

I sure hope that Marcus gets his money back. As he said going in he knew people were the hardest to ‘fix’ in business so he should have not agreed to a hand shake deal. Hank is taking the business down along with jobs and careers of many of his staff.

Mike
Guest
Mike

Hank, snort another line and then call your mama. You are on your way out, so put your head between your legs and kiss your A– good bye! What are you thinking, Marcus was about to turn this around and make everyone a lot of money, but you just cost your mom, your dead father and 33 employees and yourself their lively hood. What a PUNK!

Donna
Guest
Donna

Ashes not sparks fall from the flame of founder of this family business. Hank has no spark at all! The dedicated employees should go into business with other experienced professionals and Marcus for job security. Hank is just looking for a payday to sell the business. I’m sure Hank’s father knew Hank was a loser but it appears he did not have other children to help maintain the business God bless his Mom for trying to believe in Hank but… Read more »

Donna
Guest
Donna

Ashes not sparks fall from the flame of founder of this family business. Hank has no spark at all! The dedicated employees should go into business with other experienced professionals and Marcus for job security. Hank is just looking for a payday to sell the business. I’m sure Hank’s father knew Hank was a loser but it appears he did not have other children to help maintain the business God bless his Mom for trying to believe in Hank but… Read more »

Beagle
Guest
Beagle

When a business is in such dire need of help, tough love is always the best medicine. Marina took a demotion but worked through it and earned trust and proved she belonged. Hank intentionally was disruptive so he could renege on the deal and steal 150K in upgrades on his shop. He knew what he was doing. He had no intention of honoring the deal. Hank is no different than a lot of business owners I have dealt with. That… Read more »

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