Among the many qualities of multigenerational family businesses is that they don’t focus on immediate gain or long-term profits, said Sally Glick, principal and chief growth strategist at the accounting firm of SobelCo.
Speaking at yesterday’s 29th annual NJ Family Business of the Year Awards, Glick said these businesses are committed to the long haul. “They are always looking ahead in order to make their businesses sustainable and stand the test of time.”
Many of the 11 family businesses honored yesterday by the Rothman Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship have withstood the economic challenges of the past decades, including the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“Knowing what you have been through and knowing what you are now doing is extraordinary,” said Dale Caldwell, Rothman Institute executive director. “Every time we hold this event, it reminds me how important family businesses are to New Jersey, the country and the world.”
“We hear that we are the driving force of the economy,” said keynote speaker Cathy Choi, who is president of Bulbrite, a 50-year-old family business based in Moonachie that is a leading manufacturer and supplier of energy-efficient lighting solutions. Revealing statistics gathered by the US Chamber of Commerce, Choi said there are 5.5 million family businesses in the US. “We are 57% of GDP and make up 63% of the workforce. … Those are pretty big numbers.”
As for big numbers, below is the list of winners, finalists and semi-finalists ranked by sales categories: $10 million and over; and under $10 million:
Saddle Brook-based Beacon Converter, Inc. was founded in 1947 by William F. Daly, the grandfather of current president, Jackie Daly Johnson, and sisters, Kathleen Daly Mascolo, and Terri Shank. Beginning as a food-packaging materials business, Beacon expanded its product line in the 1970s into the ever-growing healthcare industry with sterilizable medical bags. Through product innovation and strategic acquisitions, the company continued its growth and commitment to a “Family Business” culture and fully embraced the business slogan of: “Doing Well by Doing Good.” By 2020, Beacon had become one of the top 500 US Women-Owned Businesses and top 50 in the state of New Jersey.
Heritage Dairy Stores operate a chain of retail convenience stores in southern New Jersey. The Thorofare-based firm was founded in 1936 by two brothers, Harold (Skeets) and Sam Heritage. They initially sold milk and opened their first convenience store in 1957. Now in the fourth generation of leadership, the company operates 33 stores, in addition to the Heritage Wholesale Company, and employs more than 500 people. The company shares its financial success with its employees as well as engaging in a wide range of community benefit activities. The company describes its four values as family, friendly, fervent and fresh.
The Burke family, which operates Burke Motor Group, is deeply rooted in the Cape May County community, lending its personal time, treasures and talents to many organizations and those in need. The family’s story begins in 1912, when Raymond M. Burke, Sr. launched the first gas station in Wildwood. Years later, 3rd generation Raymond M. Burke III, David A. Burke, and Kathryn Burke-Sellers evolved the business into what is now Burke Motor Group. The business may have changed over the years due to war, fire and COVID-19, but 4th generation Doug Burke is sure to remain true to family values and dedication to the “Burke Promise.”
For four generations, the Ravitz family and Ravitza Family Market have provided fresh and natural foods for families and communities at five ShopRite and one Price Rite stores in Burlington and Camden counties. The company consistently provides customers with superior quality products, excellent customer service, and a clean shopping environment. Great grandfather, David Ravitz opened the family’s first corner store in 1950s. Three generations later – and a member of the Wakefern Food Corporation (the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the United States), the family’s markets help raise their customers’ standard of living by providing the highest quality merchandise at lower prices in the communities it serves.
Diane Turton, Realtors, of Point Pleasant Beach, is a full-service residential and commercial real estate company located throughout Monmouth and Ocean counties since 1985. Turton always knew she would own her own business. She founded the company with her husband, Bruce Turton, on five core values: Trust, Communication, Service, Knowledge and Courtesy. Their two sons have joined the team along with Diane’s sisters. Their professional marketing campaigns, web-based technologies, and social media networks have positioned them to maximize opportunities in today’s complex real estate market.
Upper Saddle River-based Triangle Manufacturing brings to life a wide range of medical instrumentation and implantable devices. The company is a third-generation family business founded in 1955 by three colleagues in a 2,000-square-foot suburban garage in northern New Jersey. Over the years, the chief executive role passed from the founder to his son, and today, by his grandson. The success of the company is evidenced by its incredible growth. The foundation of that success is built on a belief in and commitment to employees. That commitment is reflected in the company motto “At the end of the day, it’s the people that matter most.”
Braunschweiger Jewelers of Morristown is a family business, well established and recognized for offering quality jewelry, integrity and unmatched service to customers. It all began more than 80 years ago when several members of the Braunschweiger Family immigrated to the United States from Germany. In 1931, Robert Braunschweiger opened Market Watch Repair in Newark, with a $200 investment. He was joined by brother Eugene. Five generations later, Braunschweiger Jewelers continues to offer fine craftsmanship and the vision of their forefathers while embracing the innovative spirit of each of the following generations. Today, seven family members and two stores serve the Morristown and New Providence area.
The Cranford Theater and Drive In was founded by Doreen Sayegh and her father in October 2019, but the family has owned movie theaters since the early 1980s. Doreen took the forced closure due to the pandemic as an opportunity to embrace the idea that has always intrigued her – the Drive-In. Movies are a wonderful way to escape the everyday, and opening the drive-in was a way of giving back to the community, to give the gift of entertainment in a safe environment. The theater ran food drives, school supply drives, and partnered with other companies to boost other local businesses. The community will never forget the gift they were given.
JD Companies of Hackensack is a consortium of companies with extensive experience in all arenas of commercial and residential real estate: construction, development, management, sales and leasing. The principal and founder of the business, James R. D’Agostino, has more than 40 years of industry experience, providing the expertise, ingenuity and longevity that JD Companies prides itself on. He believes that its success as a family business is due to the fact that everyone brings something unique to the table and that they truly enjoy working together. James is 3rd generation and is joined by his son, daughter, brother-in-law, and nephew.
Ocean City-based McMahon Insurance Agency is an independent agency located in three offices along the New Jersey shore. Originally founded in 1922, it was acquired by Bill McMahon Jr. in 1981 and operated with just two employees. The business has grown to 40 employees selling various types of insurance products in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware to more than 18,000 customers. The company prides itself on customer service. Today, there are five siblings in the second generation of the McMahon family involved in the success of the business. Based on its reputation for quality, the agency was invited to be a founding member of the New Jersey Agents Alliance (NJAA).
Estro Digital Communications of Westwood is a national award-winning minority-owned digital agency that provides services such as creative content, website development, e-commerce, strategic sales & marketing, advertising and analytics. First generation brothers Christian and Steven Estrellado started their entrepreneurial journey with the encouragement of their immigrant parents who always told them: “When in America, make your own business.” After a few learning experiences, Estro Digital was formed in 2011 and the brothers have been building their own roadmap ever since. In true entrepreneurial spirit, they will be going where the opportunity is and opening another office in Las Vegas. None of this would be possible if the entire family didn’t “buy-in.”
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