Ten multi-generational family businesses were honored recently by the Rothman Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Fairleigh Dickinson University during the institution’s 24th annual New Jersey Family Business of the Year Awards. The event, held at the Crystal Plaza in Livingston, recognized the significant contributions to the economy and community made by those businesses and families.
Master of Ceremonies Sally Glick, principal and chief growth strategist at Sobel & Co., commented that the gathered companies represent a broad range of industries, but they all have one thing in common: “They share a consistent focus on family values, history, culture, community involvement and philanthropy.”
Glick said that more than 50 percent of US GDP is from family businesses and that these companies account for 78 percent of all new jobs created. She added, “Most family businesses thrive because, unlike other corporations, they embrace the long-term approach; they investment in business today to benefit the generations of tomorrow.”
The profiles of the 5 honorees in the “Businesses with Annual Sales/Revenues up to $10 million” category are below. Click here to see the winner and honorees for the “Businesses with Annual Sales/Revenues of $10 Million and Over.“
Secaucus-based Royce Leather is a second-generation family business which traces its roots back to Vienna, Austria and Josef Bauer, who, in the 1880s, operated a small artisanal leather workshop in the city. With Josef’s son, Eugene, working under his father’s tutelage as an apprentice, the business flourished into a full-fledged factory and retail operation in the years leading up to the Holocaust.
On Kristallnacht, the factory and store were burnt to the ground, with Josef sentenced to death at Auschwitz. Eugene narrowly escaped the horrors of the concentration camps, arriving in New York in 1944 with little money, but big dreams in rejuvenating the family’s craft.
It took the company multiple decades to recover from the massive losses incurred from the Nazi occupation, but Eugene and his son Harold persevered.
Harold officially founded Emporium Leather, with its brand name “Royce,” in 1974 in New York City. The company specializes in handmade accessories for men and women, including wallets, card cases, travel accessories, bags and luggage. It has garnered a massively growing market in China as well as the United Kingdom, where its leather products can be found at Harrods and Selfridges department stores.
Royce has a total of 18 employees, four of whom are family members. This translates to two generations of the Bauer family currently working at the company: Harold Bauer (founder), Andrew Royce Bauer, creative director; William Bauer, managing director; and Kathy Bauer, president.
Founded in 1947 by Milton Morse, APM Hexseal develops and manufactures sealing solutions to protect and prolong the life of electromechanical switches and circuit breakers. The Englewood-based company initially focused on solutions for the military, but soon began serving the industrial and commercial markets. Today, the company is run by Milton’s son, David, who serves as president. His wife Carol is a vice president. Their three children are also involved in the business. Another family involved in APM Hexseal is the Fosters. William Foster has been a longtime employee, and his son Ken is being groomed to become the general manager.
Glen Eagle Advisors
Founded by Susan Michel in 2003, Princeton-based Glen Eagle Advisors is a woman-owned firm offering its clients both advisory and broker dealer services. Its clients include companies, business owners and multi-generational families. Two generations of Susan’s family are involved in the business, which translates into three family members. The company currently has 9 employees and 12 advisors. As a women-owned firm, Glen Eagle has a special understanding and focus empowering and educating women regarding their finances.
Runnymede Capital Management
Mendham-based Runnymede Capital Management, founded in 1993, is a firm focused on providing investment management and planning services for institutions, corporations and private clients. Founder Sam Wang left Taiwan and China when he was 12 years old. He would go on to earn a B.A. in International Economics at Yale College and an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School. At the firm, Sam is joined by his wife, Pauline, and sons Andrew and Christopher. Runnymede has repeatedly been named the winner of Customer Service in Investment Management by Captive Review magazine.
Things 4 Strings
Founded in 2008 by Ruth Brons and her daughter Martha, Livingston-based Things 4 Strings invents, designs, manufactures and sells accessories for violin and cello bows. The company holds a number of US and foreign patents and sells its products internationally, including in Asian markets. There are six family members (three generations) actively involved in the company. The family has applied more than 80 years of combined teaching and performing experience in creating its playful products, including Bow Hold BuddiesTM and CelloPhant®, which are used in the very serious work of string pedagogy.