Over a century of family commitment

The story of our company’s past and present is also the ongoing story of a unique American family. Since the end of the 19th century, when Thomas F. Leahy purchased the James T. Hair Company of Chicago, the Leahy family has served as the impassioned stewards of American Hotel Register Company. With Leahy leadership, the company withstood the Great Chicago Fire, the Great Depression, World Wars, countless recessions and incredible changes in travel. Even through periods of steep business losses, the family maintained its commitment and determination to move forward.

James F. Leahy, Sr., succeeded his father as head of the company in 1932. He guided its growth for the next six decades. His three sons – Jim, Tom and Patrick – quickly proved to be the third generation of Leahy leaders committed to the progress of American Hotel.

Together, the brothers broadened the company’s business beyond printing and made a priority of nurturing a culture in which the associates at American Hotel are extended “family.” Patrick Leahy served as executive vice president until his untimely death, at age 60, in 2007.

Jim and Tom carried on a family approach to business that not only honored the memory of their brother, father and grandfather, but served the company well in attracting employees who shared the family’s dedication to customer needs. In 1985, Jim succeeded his father in becoming President and CEO.

“At American Hotel, ‘family’ is more than blood relatives,” says Jim.
“It’s the people who show up and stand beside us. They dedicate their creativity and energy to one another’s success and the company’s success.
Our life’s work is their life’s work.”

As the catalysts of an ongoing effort to adapt to the changing needs of the hospitality industry, Jim and Tom have adopted personal business practices that include:

  • Reinvesting all of the profits back into the company
  • Hiring extremely competent managers to plan for the company's future, invest the family's money wisely, enter new markets carefully, buy effective technology, and operate the company in a wise, caring, and efficient way consistent with the family ideals
  • Enlisting competent board members from outside the family who have the experience and wisdom to help guide American Hotel and assist in selecting first-rate leadership
  • Restricting the transfer of stock and borrowing only within the company's means

Today, as the company celebrates its 150th anniversary in business, fourth generation family members, including Bart Leahy, Dirk Leahy, Laura Leahy, Sean Leahy and Bill Boyle, are already making significant contributions to its future. With Jim as Chairman and Tom as Vice Chairman, the company – and the family – continue to add chapters to a unique American success story.