Meet the Boss: Tanda Abel

Legacy is not leaving something for people. It’s leaving something in people. - Peter Strople

Late January of this year saw the passing of the torch within the walls at SilverTowne. A legacy was maintained and able to continue while at the same time changing its many faces. That face? The youngest child of our late founder and mentor, Leon Hendrickson, and his larger than life co-pilot, Ruhama (Hamie), took her seat at the head of the table: Tanda Abel.

As news hit that former majority shareholder, the oldest child and only son of Leon and Ruhama, David, was retiring in January, many questions were up in the air as to who would take over his majority ownership. As thoughts took hold of potential outside buyers, one thing that could not and would not stand was the idea that this family-owned business, which has been operating since 1949, would land in hands outside of the family.

“We really thought this through,” said Tanda, referring to herself and her husband of over forty years, Tony. “It was the right thing to do if we wanted to keep it in this family and in this community. We thought about our families and their families and the employees and their families. It just didn’t seem like an option for it to go anywhere else.”

The youngest of three, Tanda and her older siblings, brother David and sister Kathy, have grown up in this business since it’s beginnings. While not around for the restaurant days, Tanda does remember operating the business out of their family home’s basement.

“I remember silver certificates all over the living room and dining room floor,” she recalled. “Silver dollar bags were everywhere. They were used for door stops if I’m being quite honest. That was normal for us. We were in it whether we liked it or not.”

Although mostly fond memories plague her brain, the one that sticks out in the worst of ways was the one that everyone in the coin business can recall hearing about: the robbery.

“It was in August of 1973,” Tanda sighed. “It was incredibly scary and traumatic.”

Although fading with time, she can still step into those 17-year-old shoes of hers and recall step-by-step the horrific incident.

“I remember every second of it,” she said. “My mother shooting the man, him laying on the floor, hitting the panic button, calling the police and them not believing me because I was young and they thought it was a prank. Everything. And then there was the aftermath of having security guards around for a while after that.”

Moving on out of high school, Tanda would go on to study radiology and graduate to be an x-ray technician. Working at Reid Hospital in Richmond, a clinic in Muncie, and a number of other local medical facilities, she would continue to help out the coin business here and there.

“I came and worked here when Andy (her oldest son) was really young and I could bring him to work with me,” Tanda said. “I quit in 1981 when Brock was born.”

The mother to three boys, Andy, Brock, and Tyler, Tanda, as well as Tony, made it known that their boys needed to pursue an education or trade of some sort before making their way back to the business that they grew up in and worked at most summers.

“We wanted them to have other experiences,” she said. “We felt it was imperative for them to get an education or develop a trade before they decided that the business was something they would want to fully commit to. Once again, we just wanted them to have other experiences.”

Andy and his younger brother, Brock, would go on to pursue a four-year bricklayer apprenticeship after high school while younger brother Tyler would attend a two-year business school before moving on to auctioneering school. All three boys returned home to their grandfather’s business and never looked back after completing their “required education.”

“We always hoped that they would come back,” Tanda admitted, “but the education was important. My dad would have wanted them to be here and run it. Now I have three boys that are the quarterbacks and running backs of the business.”

While Brock is now the CEO of SilverTowne, brothers Andy and Tyler are the show hosts for the company’s subsidiary business, The Coin Vault. While she had hoped for her boys to succeed within this business in their own right, she never thought it would happen this way.

“Andy as the show host for The Coin Vault was something I never saw coming,” she said. “I know he didn’t either, but he’s wonderful at it. And now with Tyler joining him for these last few years, it’s nice to see them do it together.”

As the numismatic business continues to change as a whole, Tanda’s involvement in buying her brother’s shares and being a majority owner of SilverTowne was something that felt necessary for its future.

“The changes are hard but necessary and I felt that keeping the business here is what was right,” she stated. “I have no doubt that everyone will pull together and continue to take care of it as they have. I have been incredibly proud of all the wonderful employees who have made it possible to run this company day in and day out. If I take care of them, they will take care of my business.”

As for the future, her hope is that her whole family, including her sister Kathy and her three boys Ryan, Kevin, and Eric, will continue to make the business thrive and in doing so, will secure themselves and their families.

“It was the dream of my mother and father to make this business flourish,” Tanda recalled. “If we could all follow in my dad’s (Leon’s) footsteps, then I know we could make that happen. He treated everyone the same no matter who you were. He was kind and generous and hardworking all at the same time. My parents gave their heart and soul to this business and you can only hope that everyone in the family does the same.”

Aside from business affairs, Tanda and Tony are grandparents to seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild, which translates into her being busy most if not all of the time. Their involvement in the future?

“I would love for them to be involved in SilverTowne but you just never know,” she said. “Andy has the oldest of my grandchildren and if I had to guess I would say maybe Payne because of his interest in television? Again, it’s too hard to tell as their interests are every which way. The other four grandchildren are way too young to know.”

When not running after her grandchildren, she enjoys reading, scrapbooking, and quilting in her spare time. (She also is an EXCELLENT baker as she provides us all with treats throughout the year.)

As one would gather from Tanda while talking with her and listening to her goals and past experiences with the business, hope seems to be the general theme. In times of struggle, her hope and faith have gotten her through since the very beginning. They are the continued guiding force that makes it possible to think about such a thing as the future as nothing is guaranteed in this life.

But also in that hope lies the foundation of family and the love that she has for them. Something no doubt she learned at a young age from her parents. Her gratitude for their help and support along the way is something she cannot put into words but has no hesitation to try.

“I want to thank David and Kathy and all my nephews for everything they have given to this business,” she proclaimed. “It could not have been done without them.”

As she continues on her journey as the new face for the company, the proud legacy of her family lives through her and has no doubt been ingrained in her children. As Leon and Hamie continue to look on from above, they would be proud of the business and what lies ahead in its future with Tanda’s sweet-natured hands on the wheel.

The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith. - Billy Graham