November/December 2020

In this issue

  • Family Business CEOs to Watch 2020


    We recognize family and non-family chief executives who are leading their businesses with a view toward long-term success.

    This year, business leaders in all sectors were tested as the COVID-19 pandemic challenged them to keep revenues coming in and circumvent supply chain disruption while taking measures to ensure the safety of employees and customers.

    Ben's Chili Bowl: A spicy landmark in the nation's capital

    Tucked away on a once-trendy, once-forsaken, now-trendy-again street in Washington, D.C., stand two national monuments perhaps less publicized but certainly as beloved as the museums and memorials that make the nation’s capital a top tourist destination.

    One is the world-famous Lincoln Theatre, built in 1922 and venue for jazz and big band performers of legend, including Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Pearl Bailey and Louis Armstrong. The prominence of the theater and its star-studded calendar helped create what became known as Black Broadway in the middle of downtown.

    Bringing joy, and fresh food, to low-income communities

    Even if you don’t live in Greater Philadelphia, you may be familiar with Jeffrey Brown, a fourth-generation grocer who is chairman and CEO of Brown’s Super Stores. About half of the 12 ShopRite and Fresh Grocer stores Jeff operates are located in “food deserts” — urban areas where residents lack access to stores selling fresh food.

    Resolving longstanding conflict is well worth the hard work

    Longstanding family conflict can bring a family business to its knees. It saps energy and happiness and holds back the business from functioning optimally. The first step in resolving longstanding conflict is recognizing that the consequences of avoiding an issue are worse than the emotional discomfort of discussing it. Let us look at an example of a family that succeeded in resolving longstanding conflict.

    Navigating shareholder dynamics in a family office environment

    Family business owners are typically laser-focused on building a successful, competitive, innovative company that will grow and flourish over time. However, an interesting thing can happen as a family business becomes successful. Over time, a family firm can take on a role beyond being an operating company. It can also begin to function as a family office.

  • Leaning in to uncomfortable conversations

    Family businesses in the United States have been hit hard this year from a variety of angles. Stress on operational business activities due to the global pandemic and ensuing recession have necessitated many difficult decisions and conversations.

  • Risky family business

    This year, our MLR Media team has focused on the topic of risk — an appropriate subject to consider in a year marked by a pandemic, destructive wildfires and social unrest.

    Our sister publication Directors & Boards is addressing risk from various angles in each of its issues in 2020. Here at Family Business, we’ve centered our Transitions Fall 2020 conference on the theme of “Managing Risk in Good Times and Bad.”

  • Pantry pride

    I love to cook, but for many years, with my work schedule and board requirements, I haven’t had the time. Then COVID descended. I found myself with the opportunity to cook more often for my husband, a discriminating eater. For years I had been hoarding mouth-watering recipes, so I began to experiment.

  • Dueling Perspectives: Private company share structures

    Business families have a variety of options for structuring shares in their company to meet the needs of the family and the business. We asked George Quarles, a third-generation owner of Quarles Petroleum Inc., a Fredricksburg, Va.-based fuel company, and Carolyn Brown, a fourth-generation shareholder, director and family council chairperson of Mannington Mills Inc., a Salem, N.J.-based flooring manufacturer, to explain their companies’ share structures.

    George Quarles, Quarles Petroleum:

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