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Updated: October 30, 2023 From the Editor

From the Editor: Running a family-owned business has its own challenges

When I was growing up, the youngest child in a family of five, there was an implied pecking order. You always knew where you stood. Thankfully, my siblings and I all took different career paths.

Possibly for that reason, the dynamics of a family-owned business have always impressed and mystified me. How do people who have spent every moment of their lives together make the tough decisions that go into something where money is involved?

That’s what we hope to decipher in this issue with its focus on family-owned businesses.

Senior Writer Renee Cordes talks to Shawn Gorman, the chairman of one of Maine’s best known family-owned businesses, L.LBean. He talks about how decisions are made in a company with a long and well-known history.

Renee also talked with leaders at two well-established companies with non-family members as CEOs, Hussey Seating Co. and Geiger, as well as a startup, Huga Heat.

Possibly the best advice she heard was from Ryan Eldridge of “Maine Cabin Masters.” Eldridge works with his wife, Ashley Morrill. As Renee writes, when asked what he does when there’s a disagreement, Eldridge says: “Keep my mouth shut, no matter how hard it is.”

Elsewhere in the issue, Senior Writer Laurie Schreiber talks with the families that run farms. Farming is an undertaking that is hard enough in itself, but adding family dynamics takes some patience. “There are family farms in Maine that are doing really well, not by luck but through hard and thoughtful work about how they will continue to thrive,” Betsy Bullard of Brigeen Farms tells Laurie.

Finally, Staff Writer Alexis Wells visits with the owner of a contract manufacturer, Pieceworks in Waldo County. The operator has found a sweet spot where she could grow within a certain limit and keep the company moving forward.

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