March 5, 2002
"You have to be very giving, I think," said Tom, who runs the business with his brother, Don. "It involves a lot of compromise. You always try to see the other person's point of view."
The rugs look traditional, but there's been plenty of change.
G.A. Gertmenian & Sons has survived everything from the Great Depression to the political upheaval in Iran, where they used to get most of the rugs. Now most of their rugs come China, with others from India and Pakistan. Their business has expanded from a regional one to supplying retailers across the country.
"You have to agree on certain principles on how you want the business to be conducted," said Tom, 57, who lives in Pasadena.
"You have to agree on the direction you're gonna go in the future. You have to be open to accept new changes. It's easy to always to things the same and to stay in a groove."
Funny thing is, Tom never expected to carry on this family tradition. He joined the Army as a young man, went to college and then went to work for a big corporation. When he did decide to try out the family business, he did it as simply as an employees for three years to see if he'd like it. He did.
"There is always an opportunity for new family members to carry it on in the future," Tom said. "We get a lot of pleasure out of that."
In fact, his son Peter has gone into the business – something Tom never expected. "You should bring your child up to let them do what they want to when they grow up," Tom said.
Peter, 24 has already brought big change. "He never wears a tie," Tom said.
Brothers Tom (left) and Don Gertmenian (right) run it, with Tom's sons Peter and Charles (center)