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Joseph Junior played in his father's factory, Boisseliers du Rif, shoveling sawdust into a small box that the workers made for him – like his father before him, and, perhaps, his grandfather before that. At five years old, the child is not yet aware that he is the great-grandson of a Beirut carpenter called Hanna al-Rif and hence the heir to a family dynasty that has been crafting wood in Lebanon for more than 100 years.On one occasion, Hanna was stopped by Ottoman troops and didn't hesitate to swallow the two small gold coins he carried – his worldly goods – to prevent the occupying force from getting hold of them.The war years were hard and, like many other families, Hanna's was starving. Joseph had dreams for the business that differed from Hanna's painstaking, well-worn model.Little by little, father and son grew apart, until Hanna started to accept and respect his son's independent spirit.The company's founder remained skeptical of the cigar boxes' origin, Joseph said.Joseph even had to refuse some additional orders from Davidoff, so high was the demand for his work.Joseph said that he never once thought of leaving Lebanon.Even with a factory of around 4,000 square meters, with 80 full time artisans and 20 administrative staff, the Rif family are not complacent.
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