nesses have members of the fifth generation working in the business.
Gary T. Miller
Prompt Ambulance Service
and other challenges
OUR COVER STORY
in the print edition
couldn’t do justice
to the hundreds of
who wrote to The
their family business
Every generation of [the family that runs] the
Carlink Ranch has worked to better the business to
ease the labors of the next [generation] and survive
through difficult times. In the early 1900s, it was sell-
ing beef to the nearby military fort and early settlers
of Tucson. In the mid-1900s, it was clearing fields for
farmland and making mesquite charcoal. Today, we
are continuing to diversify the operation by improv-
ing irrigation systems to conserve water and increase
crop yield, raising natural beef, milling mesquite
lumber and providing our guest program. We are liv-
ing through the worst drought in our part of the
country in 100 years, and navigating our way through
increasing regulation of the agriculture industry.
The advantages ofa family business? You can The benefits of keeping this family business
make your own schedule, go to your kids’ excur- going are endless. My husband can walk outside and
sions or science fairs; you can dress down and call see the work of his father and grandfather and so on.
your own holidays. The disadvantages? You need to He knows, as did his father, that he is working for our
pay everyone else first; you are responsible to meet child’s future, a way of life that is known to very few.
every single expense the company incurs. Stefanie Smallhouse
More challenges? Finding good employees, Carlink Ranch
accepting the differences in work styles between sib- Redington, Arizona
lings and knowing how to tell an employee “It’s
none of your business” in a very tactful way. What hasn’t changed is the relationship
Lori Rodriguez between the generations. My father still speaks of
CPS/Hawaii Insurance Services Inc. how well he and his dad got along, in smaller con-
Honolulu, Hawaii fines, each concentrating on different aspects of the
business and sharing knowledge and ideas. [I’m] the
a sample of what
had to say.
We believe the key to our success is primar- third generation, my father and I have worked side
ily loving what we do: sharing our God-given talents by side for over 30 years and I can probably count the
of dance and music with others and, by sharing that number of disagreements [we’ve had on] one hand.
passion, instilling in others a great sense of their What has changed is the business environment
accomplishments, even if it’s just getting through and the onslaught of the mass merchandisers. Every
another class! small business asks themselves the same question:
Linda Oltmann Walker “How do we compete with giants?
Trudy’s School of Dance We are not just another name. Our focus is to
Charleston, South Carolina stand out, not by size but by performance. We are
trying to win the battles we can win, and not every
For the most part, our family loves working battle. We like being small and my ego does not
together. We have learned to respect each other’s drive me to expand exponentially. You can hug a
strengths and try not to nag about our shortcomings. small business; you can’t hug a giant.
The challenge has been to have a system or structure Randy Safier
in place to keep everything running smoothly. And Mill Supply Company Inc.
sometimes we may get upset with someone and it Baltimore, Maryland
comes out, whereas in a “normal” workplace those
feelings would perhaps remain underground and We never really thought aboutour busi-
problems could arise. By being able to vent our frus- ness continuing through the generations when we
trations, we try to help to build up one another and opened, but now that we have worked so hard to
make the business run more smoothly. build a successful restaurant, we are very happy that
Tom and Malah Peterson our son has expressed an interest.
A Stitchin’ Time Custom Embroidery Michelle Adams
Tangent, Oregon Ricardo’s Restaurant
St. Louis, Missouri
We started as a furniture store in 1896.
At that time furniture stores also made caskets for I find a huge sense of pride being associ-individuals. That led us into the funeral home busi- ated professionally with the family business, and I
ness. As hospitals started to be built in the early have the rare opportunity to know that I am a part
1900s, the need to transport the sick and injured of a community where I can make a difference. We
became an issue. We then started an ambulance ser- run a business model where employee satisfaction is
vice. We gave up the furniture business, but the just as critical as our bottom line.
funeral homes are in their 110th year, and the Another significant benefit is a positive rela-ambulance service is in its 75th year. Both busi- tionship with my family. My father is still the man in