In this issue
In 1922 Emily Post wrote a bestselling book that defined propriety for the masses and spawned an enterprise that’s now in its fifth generation, putting the lie to historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s maxim that well-behaved women seldom make history. “I think you can change things and still maintain your own ‘civil integrity,’ for lack of a better term,” says Emily’s great-great-granddaughter Anna Post, 33.
During their 30-year partnership, Bill Ramsey and Don Nucci were the public faces of Mann Packing Co. Inc., a grower and shipper of fresh-cut vegetable products headquartered in Salinas, Calif. Bill, in charge of growing and harvesting, was known as “the outside guy” and Don, in sales and marketing, as “the inside guy.’” Over the years their official titles changed, but when it came to running the company they were always equal partners. Their identification as co-leaders was so strong that even their children referred to them collectively as “the Dads” when talking about the business.Closing his fifth-generation family construction business was perhaps the hardest decision Thomas H. Bentley III ever made. He also says it may have been the smartest thing he ever did. “For my son, I was much more likely to create an opportunity for him by looking forward than if I just kept looking back to history,” says Tom, 66. Just a few years after making that tough decision, the Bentleys are preparing for transition to the sixth generation with the same clear-headed, no-nonsense attitude.
Building a family enterprise that enriches the lives of each member while growing the core capital assets can be an incredibly rewarding journey, despite the challenges. While there are many factors at play in determining how a family enterprise continues to thrive (or not) from generation to generation, we believe that one of the most fundamental is the quality of the family relationships.
At the 1893 World’s Fair, a Ferris wheel pierced the sky. Tosty Rosty, a small mechanical clown, peered from a steam-powered popcorn machine.
Charles Cretors invented that machine, which debuted alongside the lofty Ferris wheel. C. Cretors & Company, the concession equipment manufacturing business he founded in 1885, is still owned by his family and based in Chicago.
The half-timbered walls, period photographs, stained-glass windows and fires blazing in the dining room hearths give Schuler’s Restaurant & Pub in Marshall, Mich., the air of an old English inn.
Albert “Bert” Schuler Sr. opened a small lunch stand and cigar shop in 1909. “He was a worker, and he really understood people,” says Hans Schuler, the third-generation president and CEO. Bert went on to purchase a small vaudeville hotel and, later, the larger building where the eatery is located today. Schuler’s has been designated as a Michigan Historic Landmark Site.
Generation of family ownership: Third.
Company revenues: About $200 million (2011).
Number of employees: More than 100.