Location: Rockville Centre, NY
John M. LaSpina
FOUNDING PRINCIPLES: Maple Family Centers is a family business that sells fun, and has since 1960, says president John M. LaSpina. The company has five bowling centers in two states, and operates under a philosophy LaSpina learned from his father. “My father, who started all this, would say to us, ‘Treat your key staff and your customers as if they were extended family,’ and that’s basically what we’ve always done,” says LaSpina.
Fun Fact: LaSpina threw the first ball that opened the company’s first bowling center.
ONBOARDING FAMILY: LaSpina bases his onboarding process on Jack Mitchell’s book Hug Your Customers. Mitchell writes about wanting his kids to gain experience outside the family business. “When you enter the family business right from the womb, you don’t see the real world as other people see it, and I’ve taken those lessons in that book and applied them,” says LaSpina. All family members who work for Maple Family Centers, including LaSpina himself, started their careers elsewhere. LaSpina says this process also helps family members gain valuable, transferable skills.
CULTURAL VALUES: Family is an important aspect of Maple Family Centers’ culture — that’s why it’s the company’s middle name. With that cultural mentality, says LaSpina, comes loyalty and commitment. In addition to these aspects of the company’s culture, Maple Family Centers is dedicated to maintaining a spirit of giving. The company is involved in several charities, like Fight for Sight and Bowlers To Veterans Link.
LASTING LEGACY: LaSpina says his company’s legacy is to serve as a valuable member of the community. This is a lesson his father passed on to him, and it’s one LaSpina has also passed on to his children. “Go the extra mile for your neighbor and do the same thing for your customers,” says LaSpina.