Teenager Unsure of Future, Walks a Fine Line

By Brady Charles –

It’s not his passion, it’s their’s.

In 1946, David Lombardo started the family-owned restaurant “Lombardo’s” in Lancaster City.  Since then, it has been a tradition in the Lombardo family to pass down the ownership from generation to generation.

But it’s a tradition in which Alex Lombardo – who is next in line-is not interested in, but he doesn’t want to tell his family just yet.

Alex Lombardo pondering his future plans. Photo credit by Brady Charles.

Now in 2012, a big decision needs to be made.

Lombardo, a senior at Penn Manor High School, will decide in the upcoming months, whether he will attend college for a business degree and keep his family tradition alive by running the restaurant, or will he decide to chase his own dream of becoming an engineer.

Growing up around the restaurant, Lombardo learned plenty of valuable lessons about running the restaurant. He said he has been trained to take over the business.

“I’ve been working as a bus boy at the restaurant [Lombardo’s] for three years now, and I grew up helping out around the restaurant,” said Lombardo.

“But I can already tell it’s not what I want to do for the rest of my life,” he said.

The decision now rests on the shoulders of the third generation, Alex Lombardo, who is quite unsure of his future right now.

“It’s a lot of pressure,” he said. “Part of me wants to take over the business, and I know my family would be happy if I would do that, but at the same time I’m just not sure if that’s what I want to do for the rest of my life. I would really like to be an engineer.”

Along with the benefits of great pay and not having a boss, the restaurant business can be very risky if the owner doesn’t make proper decisions.  One day your business could be flying high, and the next day you could be shutting down.

 According to a study done by Ohio State University, approximately 60 percent of restaurants shut down within their first three years of opening. Owning your own restaurant is very demanding, and requires a lot of time and effort from the owner.

 “I’d have to give up a lot of nights and weekends if I took over the business, I’d rather have my nights and weekends for my down time,” said Lombardo. ” I really don’t like the stress the business would bring.”

“In the end it doesn’t matter what we think because it’s ultimately his decision,” said Alex’s father, Michael Lombardo, about his son’s uncertain goals.

 Lombardo wants to go to Temple or Penn State University next fall, and wants to major in engineering, but only if he decides not to follow in the footsteps of the Lombardos of previous generations.

When the time is right, Lombardo will come to a decision.

He hopes it’s the right one.

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