Growing up in a family business was fun. I started going to work with my dad when I was just 10 years old. We would listen to the top 40 countdown on Saturday mornings and get cheese burgers for lunch from the bakery down the street. At that time our business was run by my dad and my grandfather. Grandpa would walk up and down our Main St. talking to whomever he could. On most days my grandmother’s role was to watch the sales floor and answer the phone. She would sit at the counter smoking cigarettes, drinking Tab, and read her romance novels. I would watch dad repair jewelry and he would let me attempt to help customers.
The very best part about a family business is the same as the best part of a family. Everyone knows exactly who each other is. There is a common understanding of what needs to happen and how hard everyone has to work.
I officially began working the sales floor when I was 14 and continued to be a part of the business until after college. I took a few years off, moved to a bigger town, worked for a “competing” company, and had a few kiddos before moving my immediate family back to my hometown. I returned and spent my days beside my dad for 12 years before he retired and my younger brother and I became the owners. My youngest brother and my son work in our stores as well. We are a family of 4 generations working together for 55 years. Pretty cool!
The connections we have made with our employees and their families are incredibly important to me.
Our team has never been just employees; they become part of our family too. Being a small business employer, we have a responsibility not only to them, but to their spouses and children. They are our extended family which makes me want to do better and be better. That is exactly what family business is about. We are committed to being accountable for each other. We all work together to make sure no one has to choose between work and family, because to us they are one in the same.
Have I mentioned how lively a family business can be? I have so many memories of discussing marketing ideas, what the future of the business might look like, and exploring inventory mixes. You never know what design will be the “next” big thing. Taking a chance on a new collection is always a risk. In my family, one of us is always sure a specific design will take off while the others may disagree. Sometimes we are right, sometimes we are wrong, buet we are always ready to laugh and throw around I told you so. Most of these discussions happen in my parents kitchen or on their deck. The beauty of this is everyone can share their ideas.
Family is love, and business is work. Fun, trust, and family are the best parts. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to love work. While there may be troubling times, I trust that no matter what happens my brother and I will figure it out and be better for it.
This was originally posted on Medium here.
Written by Michelle Turner Ganz: Co-Owner of Dean’s Jewelry and Member of Coshocton City Council.
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