“My father would say, ‘Alright, Saturday morning, you’re working,’” Alan reflected. “As a kid, sometimes my job would be, ‘Give Mr. Smith a ride home,’ and then years later, you would see Mr. Smith’s kids come in to get their car fixed, and now we see Mr. Smith’s grandchildren come in here and having their car fixed, so it’s multi-generational.”
However, in 1985, their father passed away, and his six children (five sons and one daughter) each immediately became a part owner of the family business.
“Family business is a family business,” said Alan. “Everyone knows what I mean by that. There is no family that isn’t dysfunctional, especially when it comes to a business.”
A few years later, Alan’s sister won the lottery and no longer wanted to be a part owner. She sold her share to Alan and another brother, Eric. Eric and Alan each have 25 percent of the business, and the other three brothers split ownership equally of the remaining 50 percent.
Many of the brothers left the area and tried different things at some point in their lives. However, all five of them eventually came back to work at the auto shop in Danvers. The family has gone through ups and downs, but in the end, they stuck together.
“Working collectively since ’85 without my father giving the orders, it’s been a little different,” Alan said. “There have been some tempers and there have been some disagreements, but we survived.”
Love for the Community
Since 1952, the Hartnett family has provided reliable auto body repair services and car wash expertise to Danvers residents, and they have loved interacting with the members of the community.
“It’s always been in Danvers,” said Alan. “A lot of people would tell you that it was almost as if I was born and brought up here. You build those kinds of relationships, so that is what has kept us all going here.”
Although Alan lives in New Hampshire, Danvers has felt like his second home, and he and his brothers have developed a deep bond with a lot of people in town.