As Levin Family Retires, Alan Levin Looks Back on the Family BusinessDecember 9th, 2021 by Tara Taffera
On November 30, Alan Levin, president, walked out of the Northeast Building Products plant in Philadelphia for the last time after announcing his retirement. His wife, Fran, and children, Austin and Sydney, also exited the window manufacturing company in the weeks leading up to his last day.
Forty-six years ago, Alan’s parents, Irv and Elaine, started the company “with a few dollars and lots of guts.” In November 2018, the family sold to Harvey Building Products, and then four months ago they decided to take some time to relax after working so many years. At 53 years of age, Alan says he wants to be young enough to enjoy retirement.
“I’m the type that works 80 hours a week,” he says. “We are all taking six months off and reevaluating what we want to do. We are looking at other businesses for them [Sydney and Austin] but it needs to be something they are passionate about. Fran and I will help them as much as we can.”
In the weeks after retirement, Alan is spending time in North Carolina with his wife, mother and father-in-law. His father passed away on March 21, 2020, right after COVID-19 shut everything down, but Alan says his dad was thrilled when he learned the company was sold to Harvey back in 2018.
“He was happy when the company had nine people,” Alan says. “He never expected us to have 900. He kept telling me, “It’s getting too big. You are going to die on the plant floor. So when we surprised him with the news that we sold he was thrilled for us.”
Still, it’s a bittersweet moment, and Alan says he will miss the people but not the long hours.
“I won’t miss working 80 hours a week and getting calls at two in the morning that a piece of machinery broke down,” he says. “We are the type of family that gets involved in all aspects of the business. We couldn’t leave those headaches to someone else.”
But he will miss his coworkers, customers and vendors deeply, he says. When Alan made a Facebook post on his last day, it garnered 500 comments.
“Pretty much every vendor called to talk to me,” he says. “That’s why I told the folks at Harvey I would stay involved with some of those vendor relationships. I can’t say enough about the people at Harvey, which is why we ended up staying for three years.”
Below is the announcement Alan made on Facebook with his industry farewell.
“My dearest Facebook friends, today marks my final day at NBP. 46 years ago, my parents started the company with a few dollars and a lot of guts. 35 years ago, I left high school not having much direction other than wanting to help my parents at work. I was blessed that my girlfriend at the time Fran Burstein Levin decided to come and support me and down the road, my two amazing children Sydney and Austin joined too and helped us grow NBP to 900 employees and service thousands of customers in 20 states. Three years ago, we were fortunate enough to have Dunes Point Capital buy us out and make our dreams come true. I never thought after we sold that we would’ve stayed this long but they made it enjoyable and challenging for us so we are thankful. About four months ago Fran, the kids and I decided it was time for us to relax a bit and take some time for ourselves since we’ve been working for so many years nonstop. As we walked out today at 5 p.m. I feel good knowing that everything is in good hands and I have more time to enjoy our family while we are in good health and young enough to enjoy retirement. Lastly I want to acknowledge that the Levin family couldn’t have done it by ourselves and want to thank all of our employees, suppliers and customers for everything along the way.”