July/August 2021

  • July/August 2021

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In this issue

  • Deeply Rooted

    For most visitors to the Napa Valley, Trefethen Family Winery is the welcome wagon, the first winery they see as they drive north from San Francisco and points beyond.

    Trefethen Vineyards

    Brennan's: Old Is the New New

    Ask Ralph Brennan — scion of a legendary New Orleans restaurant family and protector of the Brennan family name — what keeps him up at night, and he will reference a familial saying.

    “My Aunt Adelaide had a phrase: ‘Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations,’ ” Brennan says. “Sometimes you can blow it. You see that a lot in family businesses, so if you want to keep it a family business, you have to be thinking about the future and innovation and change.”

    Ralph Brennan's core values

    Ralph Brennan’s 5 Core Values (in his own words)

    1. Personal & Professional Growth

    “I want our team to be better a year from now than they are today. As they grow individually, we grow as a company.”

    2. Community & Social Responsibility

    8 emotional lessons of succession

    In 2012, our family business began a healthy succession process – but do not mistake “healthy” for “painless.” We did all the right things — planned, brought in outside advisers. However, while the emotions were expected, they were woefully underestimated. Succession is a mind game with opposing views from one generation to the next. Here’s what we learned about the emotional challenges that come with the process: 

    The family therapist is in: Building trust

    Building and sustaining relational trust can be complex and daunting. Trust-building is not just a novel team-building activity you do every couple of years. In this new era of post-pandemic recovery, it should be the highest priority for the entire family enterprise. In my work with family councils these past 12 months, I have seen extreme variations in family dynamics due to the convergence of the pandemic, social unrest and a rising generation of family members eager for empowerment and change. Relational trust issues have become front and center.

  • Focus on people first

    Leadership is more than a seat at the head of the table. It's about inspiring greatness, according to Heather Falcone, CEO, Thermal-Vac Technology in Orange, Calif.

    Generation of family ownership: Second.

    Annual revenues: $11.7 million.

    Number of employees: 61.

  • The subtle art of the pivot

    Randall-Reilly is pivoting — again — by using data to weed out less desirable customers and focus its sales force on more profitable prospects

    Back in 2014, Brent Reilly—the second-generation Reilly to serve as president of Randall-Reilly—stood on stage at a media industry event and delivered a keynote address about his company’s transformation.

  • Music to your eyes

    Moscot started sharing music with the neighborhood in 2004, when fourth-generation CEO Harvey Moscot started playing his guitar on a slow day at the family-owned eyewear maker’s flagship shop on New York’s Lower East Side. Music quickly became a tradition for the 106-year-old Moscot, which has since opened a gallery space alongside the Orchard & Delancey shop and hosted performances by dozens of established and up-and-coming musicians.

  • Petal to the metal for this family business

    When S. Roy Sheffield started carting flowers around Chicago in 1932, local growers paid him in flowers instead of cash. So he bundled his bounty into bouquets and sold them on the corner of Ashland and Addison for a quarter.

    Over nearly 90 years, the Sheffield family’s Ashland Addison Florist Co. blossomed. Fourth-generation Justin Sheffield now oversees a sprawling design, shipping and receiving facility in Chicago’s Near West Side, along with five retail locations around the city.

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