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2024 Family Biz Awards: Tumer H. Eren

Tumer Eren, president and founder of Classic Turf Company, has been designing and constructing tennis and basketball courts for over 40 years. His company began shortly after he arrived in the United States from Turkey.

With a small backpack, very little money, and a big dream to become a successful American citizen, Eren looked for opportunities to reach his goal.

As a former Olympic-level skier and member of NATO’s special forces in Turkey, Eren hoped to apply the discipline he learned in the army and his innate athletic ability to start his own business.

As he settled into Litchfield County in the northwest corner of the state, with only a pick and shovel in the trunk of his 1972 Chevy, Eren began what would become his lifetime work. He started his company repairing and then installing asphalt and clay courts, then worked on developing and patenting his own sport surface, Classic Turf, that improved play and reduced the need for costly repairs on courts.

He spent many years working seven days a week, 12 hours or more a day to create, build and establish a company that is thriving today. Along the way, Eren met and married Ruth.

Together they built a family and home in Woodbury.

Eren studied for and earned his United States citizenship.

He continues to dedicate his professional career to bringing new technology to the industry that will provide high-quality, long-lasting and affordable products to professional and recreational athletes.

What were your most significant professional accomplishments?

• Established and built the Classic Turf Company, headquartered in Woodbury.

• Recipient of two U.S. patents that reflect my earliest work related to sports surfaces for tennis and basketball.

• Classic Turf received many awards from both the American Sports Builders Association and Post Tension Institute, as well as from other state and national organizations.

How have your family members been involved in the company?

My son, John, is currently vice president and director/manager of all contractual projects. He has been instrumental in contributing to this company’s growth.

My daughter-in-law, Kathryn, is the company’s financial officer and general office manager. My wife, Ruth, has been supportive of the enormous amount of time and effort I have expended in making this company a success.

What are your keys to business success?

My philosophy has always been, ‘Today must be better than yesterday.’ I am committed to the idea of continuous improvement and have always been involved in research and development within the company.

My success is due to this philosophy as well as my hard work and the support of my family.

What legacy do you want to leave behind?

I would like people to remember that today must be better than yesterday, the importance of continuous improvement, my hard work ethic and perseverance, and my belief that the love and support of family are the motivation that keeps us all going and makes everything worthwhile!

Anyone in this beautiful country who has the will to educate themselves, work hard, and give back to others when able, can achieve success.

Click here to see the rest of the 2024 Family Business Award Honorees

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