Marilyn and Robert Archer
Michael Clark / Aurora Select / Marilyn and Robert Archer

" Married to the Job," the story in our January/February edition about husband and wife teams that run building material supply companies, generated several comments in response to some things the wives (including Marilyn Archer, shown at left) said regarding their role in store management: As a female owning and operating my own lumber yard, I would have a very hard time with my husband being "the boss." It doesn't sound like a partnership to me. In all of these articles the husband is the owner and the wife is just helping out, maybe not on paper but in reality. I would think at times that in itself would put some pretty hefty pressure on the marriage, not to mention the business. My husband does not work at my lumberyard. After reading these articles, I'm even firmer in the thinking that maybe that is still good for us.
–Karrin Lindow, owner, Nevis Lumber Co., Nevis, Minn.

I read with interest but also dismay as the wife in each highlighted couple spoke of helping her husband or allowing him to be the boss. Not one couple was shown as truly equal partners. Greg, my husband of 17 years, and I purchased a fastener company in 1996 and entered the industry together. We have different duties and responsibilities but consult each other on major decisions. With respect to men needing to be the boss, women may need to overcome customer prejudices in our industry, but by utilizing basic customer service and educating themselves on the technical aspects of the industry, they will prove their worth to their customers. I am sure the women in your article are well versed on the products they sell and are in fact selling themselves short.
–Gaby Mann, owner, All Points Screw, Bolt, and Specialty Co., Pompano Beach, Fla.

My wife and I have been married for 36 years. Through most of those years, we owned our own businesses and ran them together (though not presently). I never thought of myself as being the "boss." We had different responsibilities and made our own decisions as they were related to our direct responsibilities. When a situation arose that required both of us to come up with a decision or solution, we openly communicated about which direction we should take. The decision was made together. Maybe that is still why our businesses (for the most part) were successful and we love each other so. There is no real "boss," but there is and should be a true partnership.
–Ron McManus, Owner, Trim Techof Austin Inc., Hutto, Texas

What's your view? Write to Yard Notables' editor, Brendan Rimetz, at