12 RETAILER HALL OF FAME 2017 panded twice. The second time involved moving locations, a decision that required a sizable loan. “My dad was against it,” Henne recalls, “because he was very against debt. We still have tax returns from 1929 to 1932, when the business dropped in half.” For the elder Henne, the returns served as a reminder of how quickly one’s fortunes could turn. The move ended up being a success. “I remember my dad walking in the door and he joked, ‘I’m so glad I was for this from the beginning.’ He was ulti- mately very proud that we did it,” says Henne. FAMILY TIES Over his 25-year career, Henne says that his biggest challenge also ranks as his proudest accomplishment: successfully navigating a family-owned business through its various owner- ship transitions without sacrificing relationships. “He rose as the family leader and the one who became the man in charge in that generation,” says Brom- berg. “To do that the way he did it, without causing tremendous animosi- ty in the family, requires unbelievable discipline and leadership.” Henne bought out his sisters amicably in the 2000s, relying on the services of a family business counselor to facilitate the process, just as they had done during the buy-out of their parents. The counselor told them that every family, no matter how tight- knit, has its issues, and encouraged the Hennes to explore them and continue meeting over time, putting work into maintaining the health of their relationships. “I give credit to my parents and to my sisters, to have walked through that with them and still go on family vacations together,” he says. Henne’s four sons are young, and there’s no telling if there will one day be a fifth generation of Henne Jewelers. “They have the option to come into the business and the option not to,” says Henne, whose wife Dara is an attorney. “Whatever they choose, we will support them.” When Henne speaks to various youth groups, he tells them to choose a career they will love. “Notice in my great-grandfather’s obituary that it talks about his life of service, his giving, his philanthropy, and his faith. It doesn’t mention sales volume, profitability, or the car he drove. So as you’re planning out your life, think about what legacy you want to leave,” Henne advises. “It’s not about sales and margins and profits, it’s about how you live your life.” “His approach to things is not just a gut feeling. He goes in and systematically looks at everything, methodically and financially, to help him with decision making.” —Clayton Bromberg John Henne in his Pittsburgh jewelry store with, from left, his parents Nancy and Jack Henne, son Luke, and wife Dara.