In this issue
The Larry H. Miller Group of Companies was founded with a single Toyota dealership Larry and his wife, Gail, bought in 1979. Today, the group consists of 80 companies with about 10,000 employees, generating revenues of more than $5 billion.
The family enterprise encompasses a fleet of dealerships, a car financing firm, movieplexes and a number of sports businesses, including an NBA team and the arena in which it plays.
Five years after her entrepreneur husband died in 2000, Michele Rollins decided her children needed to be brought in on the family’s financial arrangements.
The late John W. Rollins Sr. had built an empire of companies involved in trucking, environmental services and pest control. He also owned racetracks and hospitality complexes.
“The kids needed to know more,” explains Rollins, the chairman of Rollins Jamaica Ltd., the holding company for the island nation’s Rose Hall Developments Ltd.
Many of us are aware that more than half of U.S. GDP comes from family-controlled businesses. Yeah, we family business owners are kind of a big deal. We also provide millions of jobs, help give meaning to our family members’ lives, pride ourselves on strong cultures and impact our communities. These things we have in common.
NextGens who join their family business often make a number of changes to modernize the company, such as upgrading the technology and increasing the company’s presence on social media. It’s only natural for the younger generation to make these kinds of innovations; they are generally the family members who are most up to date in these areas.
Some NextGens go a step further: They start a new, related company that will appeal to a younger crowd or another new market segment. One such entrepreneur is 32-year-old Alyza Bohbot.
Imagine your daughter coming home from fourth grade one day and, with a defeated look, handing you her midterm report card. She showed such promise in kindergarten. But for the second quarter in a row, she’s received Cs, B-minuses, and even some Ds and Fs.
Her teacher has added a sobering comment for you: “I don’t see things improving anytime soon.”
It’s been a mostly good decade with this kid, but enough is enough. You decide it’s time to disown her. You tell her she needs to find some other family to live with.
You’ve likely heard the old cliché about the buggy-whip maker (or his more recent counterpart, the video rental store owner) who stubbornly sticks to his business model until changing technology renders his enterprise irrelevant. Presumably you’ve taken this cautionary tale to heart and are not relying on typewriter ribbon sales or telephone booth installation to feed your family.
For the past 22 years, my husband and I have spent the month of August at our home in the enchanting south of France. Although we do some work over there, thanks to WebEx and the internet, it is truly a place to relax and see old friends. Our high school French returns, but because most of our small village speaks English, it becomes all too easy to lapse back into our native tongue.
Betts Company, based in Fresno, Calif., celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. Founder William Michael Betts, an English spring maker, sailed to the United States in search of better opportunities, first settling in St. Louis and then moving to California. In 1868, he established Betts Spring Company in San Francisco. The company made springs for streetcars, wagons and horse-drawn carriages.
Generation of family ownership: Fourth.
About the company: We have a corporate office [in the Philadelphia suburbs] and a manufacturing facility in Philadelphia. We develop, manufacture and distribute innovative consumables for the oral health professional (dentists and hygienists) around the world.
Number of employees: 160.
Years with the company: 15.