Culture   //   September 8, 2023

When grandparents work alongside their grandchildren

A total of 19% of all businesses in the U.S are family-owned. Of those, only 12% are passed down to the third generation

A part of that 12% is Hugh Boeset and Grant Argyilan. They are a grandfather and grandson duo that operate five stores of the auto repair shop Midas’ franchise in the suburbs of Chicago. Grandparents Day, celebrated on September 10 every year, has given them both the opportunity to reflect on what it means to work alongside each other every day. 

Multi-generational workforces are becoming more and more common as the newest generation, Gen Z, enters the workforce. People from all different generations have had to learn how to empathize with one another, figure out how to do things differently than they have in the past and overall meet in the middle. But adding in another layer to this trend, when those generations come from the same family, it can be even harder to do those things. 

But Boeset and Argyilan, who operate five locations in the Chicago suburbs, have navigated it fairly smoothly so far. Boeset started working for Midas after serving in the Army for eight years and went on to become a franchise owner in 1981. Fast forward to the pandemic, Argyilan officially made the decision to quit his job and join the family business. They both work desk jobs making sure that the franchises operate smoothly. 

“I moved to Tennessee for two years and worked for two corporate companies and I quickly realized they didn’t run their business in the way that I grew up watching,” said Argyilan. “I knew how my grandparents and parents treated their employees and ran a business.”

He did learn more about what it means to lead confidently when he worked for other people, but ultimately he wanted to bring that back to the family franchise. 

It’s paid off. Where one person needs guidance, the other steps in. Social media has been a great example of this. 

“In the early days, you didn’t need a computer for inventory, there was no need for social media because there was no digital marketing,” said Boeset. “It was Yellow Pages and face-to-face.”

Argyilan has helped evolve this to the next level.

“It takes some of the burden off of me,” said Boeset. “It allows us to go into areas that I’m not comfortable with. I’m not on Facebook, I don’t ever want to be on Facebook. But Grant takes aerial pictures of the shops using a drone and posts those.”

“It takes some of the burden off of me. It allows us to go into areas that I’m not comfortable with.”
Hugh Boeset, Midas franchise owner.

And connecting with the younger generation is easier done with Argyilan there. He’s heading up a pilot mentorship program that is being tested in the Chicago market for Midas corporate. The program launched last May and consists of mentoring recent high school graduates with no experience to becoming lead mechanics within two to three years. It includes weekly meetings and activities that combine online learning and hands-on training. 

Building a career development plan for new employees has been an essential part of Argyilan’s job. It’s something that he recognized that he wanted to di and knew would be critical for younger employees at Midas as well. 

“We want to make sure that they’re on track to achieve their goals,” said Argyilan. “That’s the biggest thing, especially with my generation, they want to know where they’re going and have a track. For me, I’ve taken that as my responsibility. I want to be there and make sure that they get to that point.”

“That’s the biggest thing, especially with my generation, they want to know where they’re going and have a track.”
Grant Argyilan, employee at Midas.

And that’s definitely different from Boeset’s career experience: “In my generation, it was ‘here’s the job, here’s the requirements, go to work and I’ll see you on payday.’ It’s a lot more touchy feely today. That’s where Grant fits in perfectly. People want to talk to somebody that they can relate to.”

But they both agree that employee retention is a top priority for them, and they think that the mentorship program will help drive that. 

It also helps that they have trust embedded in them because they are family. Alongside the two of them, Argyilan’s dad, mom, aunt and grandma work there too. Argyilan’s parents, Todd and Michele, are both franchisees working in the business for over 30 years. Todd is a supervisor and Michele manages HR, payroll and accounting.

“We’re an organization that prioritizes family,” said Boeset. “You need a day off for a birthday or baseball game, we make that happen. It’s not like ‘oh, let’s take a look at your schedule.’”

“You have an understanding that we truly take care of our people, and that’s what makes it so easy to come in every single day to get motivated and get stuff done,” said Argyilan. “You’re around people with the same mindset and we push for that.”