Super Senior: Israel Mac

Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 4:24 PM EDT
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RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - If you’re traveling up Route 7 in Rutland, you’ve most likely seen T-Rex the robot and other quirky creatures.

“Oh my word, it’s a landmark,” said Israel Mac, who runs Mac Equipment and Steel Company. Despite the quirky lawn ornaments, the company is a bit more traditional. “I literally grew up in the business.”

The business is buying scrap metal and selling new steel. Mac is the second generation to run the yard. “Like everything else, it has its ups and downs,” he said. Right now, scrap prices are good. But Mac and his family have made a hard decision. “We’re just pushing the envelope and it’s time to slow down.” Started by Mac’s dad, David, 70 years ago, the family has decided to close the business at the end of the month.

“It’s been a long morning,” said Josh, Mac’s son and the third generation to work at the company. “There’s nothing mellow about me.” However, there’s no next generation after Josh. He says his 76-year-old dad has paid his dues. “He needs to not deal with stress day in and day out.”

“I don’t think Israel knows what retirement is like,” said Cookie, Mac’s wife, who works part-time in the office.

Word of mouth on the news about the impending closure has the phones ringing off the hook. “I didn’t expect this kind of response, I truly didn’t,” Mac said. “It’s what I call organized chaos.”

Watching over Mac is a picture of his dad. Both of his parents were in concentration camps during World War 2 -- his mother in Auschwitz and his father in Dachau. They met after the Holocaust.

Reporter Joe Carroll: Did they talk much about that?

Israel Mac: Very, very little... My father lost -- he was married -- lost a wife, a child, and all of his relatives. And my mother was married -- lost a spouse, a child; all of her relatives except one brother.

Mac and his sisters were born in Austria. The family then came to Rutland for a new life. “Their fortitude and their strength and their ability to just start all over again is amazing,” he said.

“I hope His dad is happy up there knowing that we gave it a really long shot and did it, " Cookie said.

“It’s very sobering and it’s basically a wakeup call, that as much as we don’t want to make this transition, it’s time,” Mac said.

The hope is that somebody buys the business. Josh plans to find a job in outdoor recreation.

And the art objects out front? “I have a couple folks who say they have a bad day and will drive by the yard, and they call it ‘visual therapy,’” Mac said. They’re staying for now.

Mac calls what’s happening a transition and says nothing is forever. For now, it’s Cookie and Mac’s time together. “The rest, as they say, is history,” Mac said.