Business World


Family Businesses:
Trials and Tribulations

Iím very happy to print Working with Parents in this issue. The familial element is incredibly prevalent in the coffee and tea industries, with family members involved in all aspects of growing their product or services. Through the years, I have heard happy and unhappy stories and have respected peopleís privacy. I hand picked the people to be interviewed, some responded, some didnít, others came forth on the condition of anonymity. We apologize to those that should have been included.... we could run this article in every issue and still never cover every family business in the industry.

Some tidbits that didnít make it into the article: A supermarket calling up the CEO father and telling him to fire his child who was in charge of their account or else their relationship would be ended. The father didnít fire the child.... and luckily after much cajoling, the business stayed; the children who started their own business to compete against their parents. Some failed, some reveled in great success. I remember the cries and embarrassments we all endured upon learning the business. What I can concur with the article is how hard family members must work - not only to win their parentsí approval but also the employees.

At our Tea & Coffee World Cup in Geneva last June, Luis Serrano of SEDA and Salvador Sans of Sans & Sans Fine Teas spoke about keeping the familyís ownership vibrant through the generations. Nothing was spared - divorce, death and illness were discussed.

Our company is family-owned and Iíve seen the bossís son grow from folding flyers to coordinating shows. Iíve brought my family in to stuff bags, answer the phones. Now my college-bound daughter wants to go into journalism and and will intern at the magazines this summer. Each department has been instructed to work her hard.

Families make a difference. We just heard about the untimely passing of David Williamson of Matthew Algie at age 42. He took his familyís coffee roasting business and expanded it in so many ways. The industry, and Iím sure, his family, are sincerely grateful for his dedication.

Jane McCabe
Editor & Co-Publisher


Tea & Coffee - June, 2008

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