Tom Thumb Food Stores is a family-owned and operated convenience store chain that has maintained a strong presence in South Florida, with locations spanning from Fort Lauderdale to Key West. The chain was founded by Tom Smith, his daughter Sandy and his son-in-law, Jim McCarthy, more than 50 years ago.
Tom Thumb has over a dozen stores plus several Subway franchises and rental properties. Many of the stores offer gasoline as well as sandwiches, snacks, beer, milk, cigarettes, and other ”grab-and-go” products.
When founder Tom Smith passed away more than 30 years ago, his wife’s trust was handled by Kaufman Rossin. This led to developing a relationship with the firm and Estate and Trust Principal John R. Anzivino. Tom’s daughter, Sandy McCarthy, continued that relationship when she took over as owner of the company in the early 1980s.
“After [Sandy’s] mother passed away, I helped them go through the mother’s estate transition,” said John.
“I knew when I first started using Kaufman Rossin that I liked them a great deal,” said Sandy.
Sandy’s two daughters were not interested in taking part in the family business; however, her two sons, Tom and James McCarthy, became heavily involved. So the Kaufman Rossin estate and trust team stepped in to help create a smooth transition plan for the multi-generation family business.
It’s important to have a succession plan, and most business owners don’t, John said. “When they don’t have a plan, they can end up in a mess.”
“We helped transition the business from Sandy and her husband to the children, and they are in much better shape than they were before,” John said.
Being familiar with the firm gave Sandy’s sons, current co-owners of Tom Thumb, an extra level of comfort throughout the succession planning process. “John would patiently walk us through and educate us,” said James McCarthy.
Beyond basic estate planning, John and his team serve as trusted advisors to the McCarthy family.
“They care,” said Sandy. “They want you to know they want the best for you and they’ll help you get there.”
“They are looking not only to your present, but to where they anticipate you will be (and the estate will be) in the future,” said Tom. “It’s helping you clear hurdles before the hurdles have arrived.”