High schoolers pitch in with the family business

Junior Josh Kyselica works at Friday Threads, cleaning the screens for a new design to be printed.

Alisha Soni | The Chronicle

For junior Josh Kyselica, work and family are one and the same.

Kyselica’s mom is the owner of Friday Threads, a clothing supply company that issues both large and small custom orders for customers. Kyselica’s mom started the business back in 2012. What started as a hobby of sewing became a side business of taking small custom orders. This business quickly grew, allowing her to move the business out of the house and into a storefront.

When the store opened, Kyselica could remember spending quite a few days and weekends at Friday Threads. During the time he spent at the store, he would often help out in any way he could.

“I would [be at the store] because no one was home to watch me,” Kyselica said. “I [would] do some small things for them like folding shirts until I actually got hired in freshman year.”

Kyselica said that working long hours and completing late orders at the store would impact his ability to complete certain school assignments with a time deadline.

“I have been persuaded to work longer hours than I normally would have,” Kyselica said. “Kings [Local] School District needed a last-minute sale not too long ago. That was a lot of work, but we got all the orders out.”

Currently, Kyselica works at Friday Threads in the production department. Although he is not interested in a clothing supply career, he sees himself returning to help his family with the store when he is home for college breaks. 

“It’d be nice to continue working there,” Kyselica said. “It’s very easy to just come in and begin working for a couple of hours as much as they really need to or want [me to].”

Junior Xin Wang’s family is the owner of Twin Dragon, a Chinese buffet and grill restaurant in Mason. Wang’s parents founded Twin Dragon in 2002, so the restaurant has always been a part of Wang’s life.

“I’ve always had to be there since I was [young] if my parents were working late,” Wang said. “I would be at the restaurant, but I didn’t really start helping out until I was about 12 or 13.”

Wang’s parents have emphasized that the restaurant should not be seen as one of her top priorities, as schoolwork should come first. Wang said that the lack of pressure from her parents allows her not to feel like a burden.

“If I see my mom really stressed, I’ll always offer to help,” Wang said. “But they’ve made it clear that I should be focusing on school and it’s not something that I should worry about. But I do like helping because I feel like I’m helping my parents when they need help.”

Wang has found a suitable balance in working at Twin Dragon so it does not interfere with school or other extracurriculars. Compared to previous years, Wang has reduced the time she has spent in the restaurant due to the busyness of school life. 

“Freshman year I worked almost 20 hours a week,” Wang said. “On top of that, I had marching band freshman year which was a bit hectic, but I also didn’t have that much workload. So it was an okay balance. But this year, I mainly just work there when they need help.”

Twin Dragon is typically open every day of the week, including holidays. Since Wang’s family works at the restaurant on holidays, it forces them to readjust their schedule and celebrate a holiday at a different time than most.

“We don’t usually celebrate holidays on the actual holiday just because [my family is] working,” Wang said. “If it’s Christmas, we always celebrate it early or really late at night. But it’s mainly because my parents are working till really late. So, that’s another sad part.”

Similar to Kyselica, Wang is not considering a career in their family’s businesses but can see herself continuing to help with the restaurant in the future.

“I don’t really have any plans on continuing that line of work,“ Wang said. “We’re really busy during holidays and if I come back from college, it’ll be around those times. So I’ll definitely plan on helping out during the holidays if they need it.”

Senior Owen Natorp and sophomore Eli Natorp are continuing the family tradition of working at Natorp’s Nursery Outlet & Landscaping. The business was established in 1916 by the Natorp’s great-great-grandfather. Today, different generations of Natorp family members work at the store. 

Currently, both of the Natorps are employed at the outlet store where they have been working since they were young.

 “It was our own decision,” Owen Natorp said. “Because we were just interested in working and learning about it.”

Although Owen and Eli Natorp do not strictly work alongside their other family members at the store, the opportunity to work at the nursery outlet has brought them closer together. Even though they are both unsure of their college plans, the Natorps often think about a future in the family business. 

“I’d definitely consider going into that business,” Eli Natorp said. “It’s cool, how many generations it’s gone through.” 

Photo by Alisha Soni