Northern Safety settles family feud

At long last, the control of Frankfort, NY-based Northern Safety is settled: Salvatore Longo emerged victorious over his brother Ronald in a New York state court auction on April 29.

The brothers Longo founded the safety supplies catalog in 1983; Salvatore is president, and Ronald served as chairman/CEO. Citing management deadlock, Salvatore Longo filed court documents last October to dissolve the partnership of the company. In a statement issued by the company June 14, Salvatore Longo said, “We are very excited about the future of Northern Safety. We plan to expand our business through additional product lines, increased circulation, telesales efforts, additional distribution centers, and acquisitions. The company’s potential for growth is unlimited.” He would not elaborate on the statement, and Ronald Longo did not return calls by press time.

Financial terms were not released, but the Longo brothers were the sole shareholders of Northern Safety, which employs more than 175 people and has estimated annual sales of $50 million. A third Longo brother, Michael, does not have an ownership stake in the business.

According to the documents filed in October, “The personal and business relationship between [Salvatore and Ronald] has dissolved and has led to internal and irreconcilable disputes within Northern. …The internal dissension has risen to the level that employees of Northern are divided as to which of the directors/shareholders to follow and abide by.”

The Longos had tried to resolve their differences — meeting on June 10, Aug. 31, and Sept. 27 — but after each meeting it became obvious the brothers had diverging philosophies as to how the business should operate going forward. The court documents state that the “two are deadlocked with regard to a multitude of corporate decisions.”

In the documents, Salvatore says that about 15 years ago, Ronald was diagnosed with a degenerative neck injury, which led to numerous operations and limited his day-to-day activities. As a result, according to the filing, Salvatore had to handle the company’s day-to-day operations in addition to being responsible for marketing, operations, and sales. Salvatore states in the documents that “the relationship between myself and Ronald has deteriorated well beyond the point of repair and will continue to cause irreconcilable differences and internal dissension that could ultimately destroy Northern.”

The brothers started the catalog as Mohawk Valley Medical Supplies out of their home in Frankfort. They renamed the company Northern Safety in 1985.

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