Profile

The Zildjian family knows a lot about longevity. In less than four years, the family and their company will celebrate 400 years in the music business. The family, whose company is a fixture on every list of the world’s oldest family businesses, has plenty of experience with succession, disruption and celebrating legacies.

According to the family’s history, their ancestor Avedis I was an alchemist who found that an alloy of copper, tin and silver created a metal with musical properties. Osman II, the sultan of the Ottoman Empire, brought Avedis to his palace to make cymbals for the sultan’s elite bands.

The sultan gave Avedis the name “Zildjian,” an Armenian word meaning “son of a cymbal maker.” The alloy remains a family secret.

Avedis was released from the palace in 1623 and given permission to start his own cymbal-making business. The rest is history. A very, very long history.

It would be five generations before the company — and family — would move to the United States.
Avedis Zildjian III immigrated to the U.S. in 1909. He worked at a candy factory and soon owned one of his own. In 1927, Avedis’ uncle Aram, who was running the business in Constantinople, told Avedis it was his turn to take over.

According to the history on the company’s website, Avedis III was reluctant to take on the company, which had never been very profitable. He convinced his uncle to move the business to America in 1929.

Over the years, the company would survive the Great Depression, a fire that de­stroyed the original manufacturing facility in Massachusetts and more. During this time, Avedis revolutionized cymbals by creating and naming the hi-hat, sizzle and crash. These cymbals were thinner than the original design and were embraced by big bands.

Known commonly as Zildjian, The Avedis Zildjian Company manufactures cymbals that have been part of the drum kits of countless musicians, including Sheila E., The Rolling Stones’ Charlie Watts and The Roots’ Questlove.

“We’re a mature business in a mature industry,” says Cady Ziljian, 40, a 15th-­generation family member who is a director on the company’s board and works part-time in the family office.

The company had to be flexible and adaptable, not just mature, says Craigie Zildjian, Cady’s aunt. For example, while the business had been passed on only to direct male descendants of Avedis I, that changed as the family approached the end of the 20th century. Craigie was the first woman in the family to join the business in 1976. In 1999 she was the first woman to run the company; she retired earlier this year. She now chairs the board of directors.

At this point it would seem the company has a life of its own, but while there is momentum, the Zildjians say brand recognition does not negate disruption. There has been consolidation in the industry, including Zildjian’s recent acquisitions of Mike Balter Mallets and Vic Firth Company, adding drumming accessories to its catalog.
“Technology has definitely disrupted the acoustic in­strument market, but you can never really replace the sound of a drum kit,” Cady says. “You do see technology assist in manufacturing, and that’s been very important in our quality.”

The company has a non-family executive team, aside from Debbie Zildjian, who heads up human resources.
Cady says there is pressure to steward such an iconic brand, but there’s “more pride than pressure…. We all see it as a privilege.”

However, “The brand is a lot bigger than the company” and the family, Craigie says. There are just 10 shareholders. Sisters Craigie and Debbie are G14; Cady, her sister, Emily, and cousin Samantha (all in their 30s) are G15; and there are now five in G16, including the newest addition, Colton, who is only a few months old.

The size of the family is one of the reasons why independent directors have been brought onto the board, which is currently working on a long-term growth strategy.

“Now we have a diversity of thought,” Craigie says. “We need to be more strategic, so we have directors from larger companies.”

The company is onboarding the 15th generation “as 14 winds down a little bit,” Cady says. A family council is in place to encourage shareholders to engage with the business.

“The company had been run a certain way for so long. The company that we have today is not the company my grandfather ran 50 years ago,” Cady says. “You can’t be complacent and think the brand is going to carry the business.”        

Copyright 2019 by Family Business Magazine. This article may not be posted online or reproduced in any form, including photocopy, without permission from the publisher. For reprint information, contact bwenger@familybusinessmagazine.com.                                            

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Al Maddox Jr. and his siblings are printers in a digital world, but they’re holding on to traditional relationships they’ve made face to face in the Baltimore area.

The family started in the professional printing business in 1907. Founder Gabriel B. Maddox Sr. owed his career to Booker T. Washington and the then-new Tuskegee Institute.

“As a young man, [Gabriel Sr.] was taken under Dr. Washington’s wing. [Washington] saw things in [Gabriel] that gave him an idea of what [Gabriel] could be,” Al Jr. says. Washington sent Gabriel to the Hampton Institute, where he studied printing instruction. When he graduated, Gabriel founded the institute’s first print shop.

Washington wanted Gabriel to train other printing educators, who would prepare Reconstruction-era African Americans for jobs as skilled workers.

When Gabriel left Tuskegee, he moved north, settled in Baltimore and opened Maddox Printing. Gabriel had three sons; the eldest, Gabriel Jr., joined him in the business.

The other two sons, J. Albert (Al) and Francis (Frank), opened their own shop, Time Printers. They worked as printers at Baltimore’s African American newspaper, working opposite shifts to keep the company going until they were solvent five years later.

The brothers were “time” oriented, Al Jr. says. They offered a quicker turnaround for people who needed printed material to be delivered quickly and correctly.

“A lot of people, even up to today, say they think of us because ‘time is of the essence,’ ” he says. “Now more than ever, we’re up against the internet that is available in an instant, but they know if they came to Time Printers, they’ll get what they need.

“That’s a lot to live up to, is it not?”

Maddox Printing no longer exists. When Gabriel Jr. died a decade ago, no family members wanted to take over, so it dissolved. Al and his siblings are continuing the family’s printing legacy at Time Printers. Five of Al Jr.’s six siblings work in the company. Frank’s only son didn’t go into the family business.

Al’s siblings in the business hold a variety of roles: Brenda and Lisa work as customer service representatives and share accounting duties; Lisa is a salesperson as well; Dan is a prepress supervisor; Wayne is a prepress manager who handles the graphics department; Greg is a pressroom supervisor.

The only family member from the fourth generation to join the business thus far is Dan’s daughter, Mona, who is a graphic designer. Al Jr. is unsure if anyone else will join. He and his siblings had experience outside of Time Printers before entering the business, in roles as diverse as insurance and teaching.

In addition to leading Time Printers, Al leads an initiative to educate people on the value of the printing industry.
At the bottom of his emails is a signature: “Print grows trees. Go ahead, print my email. You will read it 10-30% faster and produce 20% less CO2. If you really care about the environment, save energy by turning your computer off tonight. Go to www.printinggrowstrees.com.”

While he was the chair of a professional association, the Printing Industry of Maryland (now known as the Printing & Graphics Association MidAtlantic), the group launched the website to let people know that print wasn’t a wasteful, unsustainable product, as is often reported. Instead, he hoped to show how concerned the printing industry is about the environment in the present and future.

Paper printing is 95% sustainable, he says. The industry actually plants “far more trees than we use.

“It’s been an uphill climb because there are other situations at work. Recycling is becoming more and more of a challenge, and it does use energy, but it is still an environmentally sound process to recycle paper.”

And while the chants of “save a tree, go paperless,” sound good, corporations may have other incentives to cut printing.

“It keeps them from having to employ people to have things printed,” Al says. “And they don’t have the expense of mailing things to you.”

There’s no doubt that the proliferation of online services has made it easier to do a lot online, including paying bills, which eliminates paper statements, checks and envelopes.

But there are some products that seem irreplaceable, and those often act as introductions for Time Printers, earning the company customer loyalty and repeat business. Those are often the items that mark some of the happiest and most difficult times of people’s lives — a wedding program or a remembrance card distributed at funerals.

People still appreciate such print products, he says.

“One of the rewards we get is the appreciation that people show us when we get what they were looking for on time,” he says. “They come into the plant when they have conferences and seminars for their brochures or workbooks and say, ‘Years ago I came to you because I had a death in the family, and you did such a magnificent job. You put us at ease when there was so much going on at the time.’ ”

He says that’s what makes the family business more of a calling then a money-maker. He strives to help people share their concepts and dreams and make them come to life while honoring the rich history of his family’s printing legacy.

“To whom much is given, much is required,” he says.  

Copyright 2019 by Family Business Magazine. This article may not be posted online or reproduced in any form, including photocopy, without permission from the publisher. For reprint information, contact bwenger@familybusinessmagazine.com.

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Anyone who enjoys craft cocktails has probably tasted a Fee Brothers product. The  Rochester, N.Y.-based creator of artisan drink mix products has overcome many obstacles in its 155-year history.

Young Owen Fee arrived in America from Ireland in 1835. He opened a butcher shop in Rochester in 1847 and died in 1855, leaving his wife, Margaret, to manage the shop and raise the couple’s five children: four boys and a girl.

By 1864, Margaret and James, the eldest son, had converted the butcher shop to a saloon and delicatessen. James opened a separate grocery and liquor store and, with his three brothers, expanded to a winery and import business.

In 1881, brother Owen Fee Jr. and matriarch Margaret both died. The three remaining brothers — James, John and Joseph — renamed the business. James and John were partners and Joseph was their right-hand man until he died in 1895 at age 45.

“I’m led to believe James needed to borrow money from his brothers and the name became Fee Brothers because they felt a little slighted,” says Joseph (Joe) Fee, 54, one of the two fourth-generation owners. The other is his sister Ellen, 60.

“I’m president, treasurer, sales manager and the guy who climbs under machines when something breaks,” Joe says. “Ellen is vice president and secretary and doesn’t climb under machines unless she can’t avoid it. She does all the R&D on new products, runs the production and makes sure I have product to sell. We like to say she handles everything wet and I handle everything dry.”

In 1908, a fire caused $400,000 of destruction (more than $11 million in 2018 dollars), but six months later the Fees were up and running again.

During Prohibition, second-generation member John Fee Jr. got creative. A malt extract beverage called “Bruno” was labeled with the picture of a bear (i.e., beer) and a warning not to add yeast to the product, as it was likely to ferment. Wink, wink.

The illicit alcohol served in speakeasies often tasted terrible. Fee Brothers began producing flavorings such as Benedictine, Chartreuse and other cordial syrups to make the alcohol palatable. The company had inadvertently found its future.

After Prohibition, Fee Brothers returned to selling alcohol but had to downsize to survive. Several cousins exited, leaving the business to John Jr. and his wife, Blanche. They had two children, John C. Fee III (Jack) and Nancy. John Jr. developed the famous Frothy Mixer that gave a lemon flavor to whiskey sours and Tom Collins drinks, leading to the motto, “Don’t Squeeze, Use Fee’s.”

By 1950, he decided to focus solely on mixers. But he died suddenly a year later at 58, taking the mixer formulas to his grave.

“It wasn’t exactly that they went with him,” says Joe. “He had a recipe book. The procedures were written out, but the actual measurements were still in code. It would say, ‘take a scoop of ixmus.’ What was ixmus? What size scoop? We had his scoops, but didn’t know which one. Was it a rounded scoop or a level scoop? Working from my grandfather’s notes, my father had to re-create the recipes.”

Jack Fee had earned a degree in chemistry and a job at Eastman Kodak. Though he’d worked at Fee Brothers during summers, he knew nothing of production or running a business. His chemist’s training helped him figure out and standardize the recipes, while Blanche and Nancy kept the business going with the help of Blanche’s father.

Joe and Ellen are two of Jack’s eight children. Though their six siblings and many cousins worked summer jobs at Fee Brothers, they’re the only two who made it a career.

“My oldest brother, John, was in the business for about 12 years, but he and my father were like two gears going in the opposite direction,” Joe says. “My father was brilliant at keeping the facility in wonderful condition and setting everything up in logical order, but he didn’t want to make sales calls. He was not a people person. That’s where my brother came in.” John, now 70, left and became a highly successful insurance agent.

Joe enjoys meeting bartenders and selling the product. Ellen likes to mix things and wants to go home at night. “Too many family members in a business makes for arguments. My sister and I get along because I don’t want to do her job and she doesn’t want to do mine,” Joe says.

Both have veto power, but Joe says neither of them used it more than once in the 28 years they’ve been partners.

With only 14 employees, many long-term, there’s little formal hierarchy. “My shipping guy has been here more than 20 years,” Joe says. “We told people he’s a foreman, so if he sees people goofing around, he’s welcome to tell them not to.”

Joe and Ellen hope another generation will someday come into the business, but the siblings will make them work for it. “Both Ellen and I have done every job in this place, down to cleaning toilets.”

Their hard work has paid off. Today Fee Brothers offers about 100 products and ships to customers worldwide from a warehouse built in 2014.                         

Hedda Schupak is a frequent contributor to Family Business. She recently profiled Modlich Monuments of Columbus, Ohio.

Copyright 2019 by Family Business Magazine. This article may not be posted online or reproduced in any form, including photocopy, without permission from the publisher. For reprint information, contact bwenger@familybusinessmagazine.com.

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Delaware is a small state, which makes it easy for people to build reputations — good or bad.

Govatos Chocolates, based in Wilmington,  has a great reputation. Founded in 1894 by a Greek immigrant, the store — which includes a luncheonette — has operated in the same location for more than 100 years.

John Govatos came to the United States and started the chocolate company under the name Queen Elizabeth Chocolates. The store adopted its current name when it moved to its second location, five blocks away, and added a luncheonette. In 1912, it made its final move four blocks from there.

There was a brisk lunch business for many years (Govatos’ website claims it introduced Wilmington to ice cream soda), but that has slowed down. There’s a sentimental attachment to the restaurant, so it stays in operation.

“It’s part of the package,” says Nick Govatos, the third-generation owner of the business. Nick is the principal in the business. His brother, Richard Jr., is the head candymaker.

Nick says while growing up with a name easily recognized in the Wilmington area, he represented his family wherever he went, usually by fielding requests for sweets.

“Every time I went to a friend’s house or a store and they saw my last name, it would be, ‘Did you bring me any chocolates? Go back and get me something!’ “ he recalls.

Nick started stocking the candy displays when he was about 12. He left to attend college, but it wasn’t for him, so he returned to work in the family business.

Ninety percent of the candy for sale in the store is made in-house — on the third floor of the downtown store. Govatos opened a suburban outpost in the 1980s.

Just before Valentine’s Day, the flagship shop was bustling. Nick says February and March are the busiest time of the year for the business.

“We’re in the thick of it,” Nick says. “We’re working on two holidays simultaneously.”

The Valentine’s Day buying season is short, he says, with more than 1,000 chocolate hearts sold over three or four days. Easter buying starts earlier and extends for several weeks.

Part of the candy-making crew fills the chocolates; the rest do the hand molding. There are hollow figures of cowboys on reared-up horses, ducks, crosses, Popeye, bunnies of course — and many that leave an onlooker thinking, “Hmm, I wouldn’t have thought of that one,” like a “Flying V” guitar.

Govatos produces its candy on the third floor of the shop. There is no large-scale refrigeration. The molds are “dependent on the weather for drying,” Nick says. “It’s still old-fashioned.”

The shop runs tight. There isn’t a lot of superfluous stock — if a shape or flavor sells out, it’s finished for the day, maybe two. Some products are put on hiatus for the summer, when fewer people want a candy that can melt in their hands, not in their mouths.

But at Easter, chocolate is king. Govatos offers the classic buttercream, coconut, peanut butter and chocolate filled eggs, but the store also makes some unique flavors, including “Chop Suey” (coconut, cashews, honey, raisins and more) and a black walnut. Both are available in chocolate-covered cups and Easter eggs.

To leave his mark on the shop, candymaker Richard Jr. created the “Snooker,” Govatos’ take on a popular, similar-sounding chocolate bar.

The chocolate making isn’t the only old-school operation at the store. Orders are still taken over the phone; although the store has a website, it doesn’t engage in e-commerce. Callers might receive a busy signal, or maybe no answer at all.

Nick is approaching 50 years in the business; his brother is at about 40. Neither Nick’s daughter, who is just about to enter college, nor his son, who works for a bank, has shown interest in being their dad’s successor.

There is the option of having a non-family member run the place while keeping the company in the family, but Nick hasn’t made any concrete plans.

He says he still has “a lot of gasoline in the engine.”

“It’s been 120 years in business as a family and it hits you hard, it really does,” Nick says. “We have a lot to be thankful for. We’re enjoying what we do.”      

Copyright 2019 by Family Business Magazine. This article may not be posted online or reproduced in any form, including photocopy, without permission from the publisher. For reprint information, contact bwenger@familybusinessmagazine.com.

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They call the Kentucky Derby “The Run for the Roses,” but the winner gets more than a rose garland and a sizable check at the end of the famous horse race. The owner of the winning horse receives a nearly 2-foot-tall gold trophy.

The trophy was first awarded in 1924, the 50th anniversary of the race. Since that time, just a handful of people have worked on its creation. For 43 years, a single family has been entrusted with making it.

Ross Blackinton originally got the job for his company, New England Sterling, an impressive feat for what was then a young company with a tiny staff.

Ross followed in the footsteps of three generations of silversmiths, starting with his great-grandfather Roswell Blackinton. Roswell taught himself after serving in the Civil War. He established R. Blackinton Company in 1862.

When Ross’s father took over the business, Ross entered and found greater interest in the business side of the company. His father sold the business in the mid-1960s. Soon afterward, Ross established his own firm, New England Sterling.

He started as more of a middleman, farming out the spinning and silversmith work, but when he acquired the New York company contracted to make the Kentucky Derby Trophy for Louisville-based jeweler Lemon & Son, Ross was ready for the challenge.

“All the big companies were all, ‘You’re not ready for that,’ “ says Ross’ daughter, Susanne Blackinton-Juaire. “And he was like, ‘Oh yeah?’ “

To prove the naysayers wrong, Ross hired a silversmith, Walter Bigos. Bigos found a spinner, and the company created its first trophy for the Derby in 1975.

In interviews, Ross and Bigos shared some of their early adventures with the trophy. The first year they made it, Ross took it to his golf club, had it filled with beer and passed it around the room so everyone could have a sip.

“That was the last time we did that,” Ross said in the interview with a Louisville, Ky., television station in 2016.

Bigos, who passed about two years ago, said he would keep the trophy next to his bed, except for once when he kept it in his oven.

Crafting the Derby Trophy raised the company’s profile. The trainer, jockey and breeder of the Derby-winning horse each receive silver half-size replicas of the big gold trophy. Blackinton makes all four.

As New England Silverworks grew, Susanne was growing up around the business. She was in awe of the silversmiths and spinners and dreamed of one day creating the trophy.

But her parents had a different plan. They wanted her to be the first one in the family to attend college.

After switching her major from communications to art therapy, Susanne wrote her father a letter, telling him she was wasting her parents’ money in college and that she wanted to work with her hands and become a silversmith.

“I think he understood. And he had four other kids who could go to college,” she says. Susanne started by paying her dues in the pressroom and packing trophies for shipment. She was the first woman in five generations to follow the silversmithing trade.

Bigos was Susanne’s mentor. She refers to him as her greatest inspiration and a father figure whom she hopes to emulate.

Bigos was there not only to witness Susanne’s success in the trade, but also to see her meet and marry her husband, Bill Juaire, who was a spinner at the Silverworks. Susanne, Juaire and Bigos worked as the company’s “hollow goods” division in their own shop. As a spinner, Juaire is the artisan who creates the bowl, pedestal and other non-sculpted parts of the trophy.

Ross sold New England Silverworks in the ’90s. Around 2000, Susanne went to work with her husband at his newly established business, New England Copperworks. They were contracted by the new Silverworks owners for the annual job of building the trophy. During Ross’ and Bigos’ time with the trophy, they worked to make the horse look more like a thoroughbred, with long legs and a longer neck. Now, Susanne sculpts the signature horse and jockey on top.

In another change, Susanne flipped the horseshoe on the front of the cup. The original design, with the opening of the shoe at the bottom, flew in the face of superstition: a downward-facing shoe is said to spill out good luck.

Today, Susanne and Bill spend four to six months on the trophy, never touching it with bare hands. In contrast to the days when it served as a beer mug or could be left at an airport without getting stolen, the trophy now has its own security detail for protection.

And as of 2018, Susanne’s business, now called S.R. Blackinton, has full ownership of the project; its trademark appeared on the trophy for the first time last year.

Currently, none of Susanne’s children are interested in the business. Her 26-year-old daughter has helped with product development, but “has her own path,” Susanne says.    

Copyright 2019 by Family Business Magazine. This article may not be posted online or reproduced in any form, including photocopy, without permission from the publisher. For reprint information, contact bwenger@familybusinessmagazine.com.                                                   

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Cranberries are a staple of the holiday season — jellied in a can, strung with popcorn, juiced into a sparkling punch.
For the Haines family, the fruit is their bread and butter. The family’s 128-year-old New Jersey farm produces more than 30 million pounds of cranberries annually.

Fourth-generation member Bill Haines Jr., 65, is CEO of Pine Island Cranberry Co. Three of his five children also work in the business.

The Haines family has grown cranberries since 1890, when Bill’s great-grandfather, a Civil War veteran, teacher, attorney and businessman, bought 50 acres on which to start his business. Today, the farm is the largest grower in the state, with 1,400 acres of cranberry bogs and about 14,000 additional acres to protect the bogs.

Bill’s daughter Stefanie Haines, 46, joined the farm full-time as social media coordinator in 2007 and launched the company’s website in 2012. She started out working in the farm during the summers through high school and filled in at the office during college breaks.

Her brothers Tug, 40, and Mike, 29, also work in the family business. Mike, who is manager of the farm, clearly remembers his first job there: putting together the boxes that held the pints of blueberries, a crop grown on the farm until 2009. He earned five cents a box. When he graduated from that position, he sorted the berries in the packinghouse, packed them into pints, packed the pints into boxes and stacked the boxes on pallets to be shipped.

After graduating from Fordham University, where he studied Latin and Greek translation (“I don’t regret studying it; I don’t know if it comes in handy particularly”), Mike pursued agriculture — specifically cranberry cultivation — outside the family business. He worked with cranberry propagator Abbott Lee and learned about new hybrid varieties in development at Rutgers University.

When Mike started looking for a new job, his father asked him to join Pine Island.

“I’m really glad I gave it a chance,” Mike says. He had hesitated right after college because he felt intimidated by the legacy of the family and the company.

“It’s a lot to live up to sometimes,” he says. “People speak so highly of my father and grandfather and the two generations before that.”

Mike focuses on crop management and long-term planning at Pine Island. In the off-season, farmers determine whether to prune excess vegetation or to add sand to the flooded bogs to freshen the ground under the water that will be dry again by planting season.

He’ll also decide if any of the plants need to be replaced. Some on the farm have been in the ground as long as 70 years, but now new varieties can produce double or triple the yield of older varieties in the same acreage.

Stefanie says after the harvest, there are plenty of fresh cranberries in the family’s refrigerators, but the fruit grown for commercial use is delivered to an Ocean Spray receiving station in Chatsworth, N.J., where they are processed into products such as dried craisins and cranberry sauce. The family joined the Ocean Spray cranberry farm cooperative in the 1930s.

At that time, the cranberries were harvested on dry land with scoops and buckets. In the 1960s, the Haines family introduced wet harvest to New Jersey. Most of the berries in the industry are now harvested by flooding bogs and allowing the cranberries to float to the top, where they are skimmed off.

In 1993, Bill cofounded a cranberry-growing venture in Chile. He has served as president of Cranberries Austral Chile since 2008. That farm reaps about 1,500 tons of berries annually.

The Haines Family Foundation was established in 1996. Bill’s sister, Holly, left the cranberry business to run the foundation.
The family continues to invest in both Pine Island and the company in Chile. Bill has talked about succession for “a long time” but is in no rush to retire, Mike says.

Over the long history of the farm, the family has learned to “work hard and always reinvest in the business,” Mike says.
“It might be easy to shortchange something in the present, but we’re always investing to make the farm better. [The farm’s] not a static thing; it’ll always be changing.”  

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Salt water taffy and caramel popcorn are timeless treats to enjoy on a classic U.S. beach vacation. For more than 100 years, Dolle’s on the Ocean City, Md., boardwalk has been providing these tasty souvenirs and more for tourists and locals.

Rudolph Dolle Sr. and his young son, Rudolph Jr., sought a seaside location for their hand-carved carousel in 1906. They fell in love with Ocean City, and the father bought a property on the boardwalk.

After a few years on the boardwalk, Rudolph Sr. bought a taffy stand next door to the carousel and started stretching the sugary treats. The family operated both attractions until the carousel succumbed to a fire that destroyed most of downtown Ocean City in 1925.

“What we make is the New Jersey-style taffy,” says Anna Dolle Bushnell. “It’s not the real soft nougat. It’s firmer because it’s pulled.”

Taffy was a perfect beach snack in the days before refrigeration because, unlike chocolate, it’s sturdy and doesn’t melt.

As refrigeration took off, Rudolph Jr. added chocolate to the menu. He ran the store until his passing in 1968. Then Anna’s aunt, Evelyn Gunby, ran the business until her brother, Rudolph “Bunky” Dolle (Anna’s father) joined her in the early ’70s after returning from the Navy. Bunky and his wife, Pam, took full ownership in 1978 when his sister passed away.

Anna, 39, and her brother, Andrew Dolle, 36, are the fourth-generation owner-operators of Dolle’s Candyland, the original store, plus three other locations in Ocean City. (Dolle’s in Rehoboth, Del., is a separate company that was bought by a partner in 1956.) Bunky, now 69, semi-retired in 2000. Pam retired when Anna and Andrew took the helm. When Anna was a child, she’d climb into a cardboard box under the taffy-pulling machine and play with Barbie dolls. Now her 13-year-old daughter, Hailey, accompanies her to the office occasionally. Her 10-year-
old son, Brody, started making candy last year.

“Last summer he started making chocolates,” she says. “He was too short to see over the counter.” That’s not the only way Brody has contributed. He’s also the auteur of a short stop-motion video featuring candy corn, which can be seen on Dolle’s Facebook page. The candy company has embraced the digital revolution.

“Dad would love to be here; his passion is still here,” Bushnell says. “But it’s such a different beast in so many different facets.” Anna says the goal of the Facebook videos is to keep the family business in the forefront of fans’ minds. “That’s what works now,” she says. She stars in online videos showcasing products, set in the kitchen of the upstairs office.

“Everything goes so fast now,” she says. “It’s a challenge to keep up with keeping your brand out there, keeping your story out there.” The company’s wholesale business, under the name A&A, has expanded a great deal.
Sometimes, customers complain about the time it takes to receive an order. “People see a website and the packaging and think it’s a corporation,” Anna says. “When we get the order, we have to make the candy. There’s a little bit of a disconnect. There’s an Amazon way of thinking.

"It’s challenged us and keeps us on our toes.”

Taffy making hasn’t changed much in the last 100 years, which is why the process takes time. Employees use antique machinery and must consider both the temperature and humidity every day before starting a batch.

“You can’t go on the internet and teach yourself how to make taffy,” Anna says. “You have to have a certain know-how.”

When Anna was growing up, her family was too busy working to spend much time at the beach in Maryland, but they did take some time in the off-season to relax in the sun.

“We went to Florida,” Bushnell says. “That’s where my dad went in the wintertime when he was growing up — Delray Beach. As we got older, we went on cruises and stuff like that.” FB

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Sure, you’ve heard of making lemonade out of lemons. How about making skincare products out of plums?

The Taylor family in California is doing just that. Fourth-generation sisters Jacqueline, Allison and Elaine Taylor wanted to join plum grower Taylor Brothers Farms, but their interests stretched beyond marketing the produce itself.

All three sisters (the youngest, Elaine, is not currently working full-time in the business, but is “definitely involved”) spent time working with their dad. They thought they could do something more with plums.

“We really wanted to find a way to work together and to diversify the family business,” Jacqueline says.

“Jacqueline had a strong hunch that there was something in the oil — how powerful it was,” Allison continues. “That was the direction we wanted to take [the business].”

Jacqueline, who suffered from acne as a teen, had always been interested in skincare. Elaine struggled with eczema.
Jacqueline, who had intended to pursue dermatology at UCLA, did an internship at an oral/maxillofacial practice. She was able to discover how plum oil helps the skin.

“It’s not an ‘FDA approved’ sunscreen, but in combination with a current routine, it protects the outermost layer of skin,” she says. “You combine it with your foundation or concealer, and it protects.”

“It’s not anti-aging,” Allison adds. “It’s fortifying the barrier in your skin so you don’t run into those [aging] issues.”

Additionally, the oil doesn’t clog pores or increase breakouts, Jacqueline says. Elaine believes it has calmed her eczema. The company hopes to get the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance by the summer.

The sisters did extensive clinical testing before presenting their plans to their father, Richard Taylor, who owns the company with his brother, John Taylor.

“We went to our dad and he said, ‘Well, I want to see a business plan,’” says Jacqueline. “I said, ‘OK’ and put together a business plan, including information about the cosmetic market and how it has grown.

“I really had to convince him on it — cosmetics was not his field,” she recalls with a laugh.

“Most of the people in the prune industry are males,” Allison notes. Male prune growers aren’t apt to consider the fruit’s potential as a cosmetic product, she adds.

But now Richard is a true believer in the oil, the sisters say.

“He uses it all the time,” Allison says. “I tell him, ‘Dad, you should be the poster child for the product.”

But the fruit-growing business is sweet. For more than 100 years, the family has grown plums, cherries, watermelon, cantaloupe and walnuts. Over the last 30 years, Richard and John Taylor have narrowed the crops to plums (prunes) and walnuts. The farms have also shifted to organic growing practices.

The plums sell well around the world, especially in Asia and Europe. The farm produces 6,000 tons of dried plums a year and claims to be the largest producer of organic plums in the world. Of that, 10% is used for the oil, Jacqueline says.

The product can be found in Credo Beauty, Anthropologie and Neiman Marcus stores around the country, with new accounts in the works.

The next step for the ranch is yet unknown. The women know they always want to be a part of the family business, but aren’t sure if they will run the growing business itself. For now, they are satisfied with the cosmetics offshoot.

“We’re still figuring out [succession],” Allison says. “So much of what we do is contingent upon the farm and depends on the farm. Even if our dad retired, I would feel very uncomfortable if something happened to the farm.”

At 65, Richard has no plans for retirement in the near future, his daughters say. They have cousins — John’s children — who could take up the mantle of growing.

“We’re in a good position,” says Allison. “Whether our generation will [take over] control of the business — we shall see.”                           

Copyright 2018 by Family Business Magazine. This article may not be posted online or reproduced in any form, including photocopy, without permission from the publisher. For reprint information, contact bwenger@familybusinessmagazine.com.

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The building at the corner of Caroline and Meigs streets in Rochester, N.Y., has been home to a number of establishments bearing the name “Dicky’s”: Dicky’s Restaurant, Dicky’s Bar and, now, Dicky’s Corner Pub.

Richard “Dicky” Savaggio, the namesake, first opened a restaurant on the first floor in 1949. But the building’s history is far longer.

The structure started as a hospital and became a bar at the turn of the 20th century. In 1922, Italian immigrant couple Michele (an Italian version of Michael) and Francesca Savaggio purchased the building. The bar remained and the rest of the building was rented as apartments. During Prohibition, the bar became “a cigar shop,” which, according to local newspapers, was raided more than once for having alcohol on the premises.

When Dicky opened his restaurant in the space in 1949, Prohibition was long gone, but regulations required a restaurant to be open for two years before it could secure a liquor license. He did in 1951, and alcohol has been sold there ever since.

Dicky operated the restaurant until the 1970s, when he passed it on to his daughter Fran, who ran it from 1978 to 1991, and his son, Michael. Michael and his wife, Judith, ran the tavern from 1991 until 2006, when Judith passed away.

Judith was “the honcho of that place,” says her son Richie Savaggio. “My dad didn’t really have anything to do with [the restaurant] after my mom passed away.”

After Judith died, a string of non-family tenants operated bars or restaurants in the space, which they rented from the Savaggio family. None saw the success the Savaggio family did.

“When you live in a little community like this, if you’re not part of the neighborhood, it’s not going to work,” says Richie, 41. In February 2017, he began resurrecting the family business on the site as Dicky’s Corner Pub. Richie teamed up with a non-family investor, Bill Pieper, to restore Dicky’s to its former glory.

“I’ve been working in a kitchen since I was 12 years old,” Richie says. “I’ve managed a few restaurants and put my energy into it.”

“We’re doing this the right way now,” Richie says. “We’re bringing the neighborhood and the family back into it. People can come in with their kids and eat, and that’s how it was when my mom was alive.”

Richie collected his mom’s old recipes and plans to follow in her footsteps. Vidalia onions used in the French onion soup will be sliced by hand, and there will be a fish fry every Friday.

What did change, though, is the number of menu offerings. Judith cooked more than 100 dishes offered on a 12-page menu that was presented in a binder.

“Yeah, we had to scale back,” Richie says. “Nobody knows to this day how my mom did that binder menu — it’s crazy!”

Along with familiar menu items, patrons will find the original mahogany back bar that was imported from Germany by the first barkeep more than 100 years ago.

While no other family member will be working at the pub, Richie says the Savaggios support the venture. There was a soft launch in September, and the grand re-opening was in October.

“My dad is beyond happy to see his son have it back in the family,” Richie says.  

Copyright 2018 by Family Business Magazine. This article may not be posted online or reproduced in any form, including photocopy, without permission from the publisher. For reprint information, contact bwenger@familybusinessmagazine.com.

                                                   

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Founded 120 years ago, Anthony’s is the oldest business in West Palm Beach, Fla. The retailer, now specializing in women’s apparel, owes its origins to advances in transportation.

A.P. “Gus” Anthony rode James Flagler’s new railroad to its end in Titusville, Fla. There he started a small jewelry counter in 1894. The next year Flagler extended the rails to West Palm Beach. Gus was close behind.

Gus didn’t follow the rails to Miami; he stayed put in West Palm Beach, where he opened his first clothing store, Anthony’s, in 1895.

Each summer, Anthony’s would shutter its store and move with its customers to resort towns in North Carolina, Virginia and Ohio, selling its wares in shops the family owned there. Before the snowbirds returned to Florida, Anthony’s would restock its shelves and reopen in the Sunshine State.

This cycle resulted in lean months that balanced the successful ones. “My family didn’t teach me to buy and how to make money,” says M. Pope Anthony, 65, the third-generation president and buyer. Instead, he says, they focused on “the seasonality” of the business, and taught him to “hold on to your cash.”

The Anthony family stopped flying north for the summer in the 1930s and sold off the northern shops. Their 14 Florida stores still serve a migrating clientele.

Three years ago, M. Pope tapped his daughter, Kristin Anthony, 29, to revamp the company’s website in order to encourage year-round shopping.

Kristin was working in education when her father, along with her aunt Archer Anthony Barry and uncle Dan Barry, approached her about joining Anthony’s.

“I had no interest in the family business,” Kristin says. Her family won her over by telling her they wanted her to build a new website instead of bringing in a stranger to do it. She says she was happy to dig into something new and help the family.

Kristin moved back to Florida with her husband and started the project. She also recruited her brother, Pope Anthony, as head of web operations. Archer and Dan’s son, Danny Barry, serves as director of stores.

Kristin says the project was “bigger and far more involved” than the older generation expected. She gave the site a more polished look and added ecommerce functions.

“Every time we pay a bill to our developer, they say, ‘OK, that’s the last one, right?’ But that’s not how it works,” she says. The site needs continual tweaking, she explains.

Kristin believes this web work could be a tipping point for the business.

“The ecommerce piece is a chance to take a Florida company nationwide,” she says. “There’s always an opportunity to add more retail locations, but this is a cool way to reach other areas of the country.”

However, she says, there’s a balance to strike when incorporating technology. Anthony’s has “a little bit older of a demographic that we target,” she says. The site must be simple and user-friendly, but “we need to stay with the times.”

The technology may have evolved, but M. Pope says buying clothes for the stores hasn’t changed much since he started at the company in the 1970s. He says he learned that part of the business through trial and error.

“Our clientele is an easier clientele than one that’s 24 years old, where the fashion changes every two minutes,” he says. “You find a good-selling pair of pants in a fabric people like, and you stock up. I can confidently buy thousands.”                                              

Copyright 2018 by Family Business Magazine. This article may not be posted online or reproduced in any form, including photocopy, without permission from the publisher. For reprint information, contact bwenger@familybusinessmagazine.com.

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