OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

OSU honors state's top family businesses

11/14/1997

CORVALLIS - A Portland coffee company, an Ashland winery and businesses in Bend, Corvallis and Milwaukie are among Oregon's Family Business Award winners for 1997.

The awards, given annually by Oregon State University's Austin Family Business Program, were announced during OSU's 10th annual Family Business Day on Friday, Nov. 14, said Patricia Frishkoff, program director.

Family business awards recognize the contributions that family-owned businesses make to their industries and to their communities, she said. Frishkoff noted that family businesses employ more than half of the workforce nationwide.

"And that percentage is rising as large, publicly-held companies downsize," she said. "In Oregon, more than 90 percent of businesses are family-owned."

A panel of 34 judges selected this year's eight award winners from more than 200 nominated family businesses.

Portland's Boyd Coffee Co. earned the Large Family Business Award for firms with more than 250 employees. Judges said the 97-year-old company recognizes and capitalizes on changing lifestyles and turns growth, coupled with perseverance and hard work, i nto an "international representative of Oregon family business."

General Tool and Supply Co., of Portland, was awarded the Medium Family Business Award for companies with 50-250 employees.

Founded in 1927, the 120-employee firm distributes tools and supplies to industrial customers and is now managed by the family's third generation. Judges focused on General Tool and Supply's restructuring of the business into self-directed business uni ts that target specific customers. Also cited was the firm's mandate of "never forgetting grandfather's belief that 'in change lies opportunity,'" and treating employees as participants who are free to propose ideas and challenge old ways in an open and informal atmosphere.

Another Portland firm, Consolidated Business Machines, earned the Small Family Business Award for companies with fewer than 50 employees. Managed by the family's second generation, the company provides sales and service of cash register and point-of-sa le systems.

Judges cited Consolidated Business Machines' work in helping their neighborhood develop as a business area. They also noted Consolidated prospering through communication, flexibility, creativity, strong work and service ethics, as well as efforts to pl an and prepare for change.

A Portland clothing store, John Helmer, Haberdasher, was honored with the Old Family Business Award for firms 75 years and older. Founded in 1921 as a haberdashery and smoke shop, this men's store is now managed by the family's third generation. They w ere cited for carving out a niche and sustaining a contrarian business with a professional, pleasant, fair, fun and flexible flair.

Ashland's Weisinger's Winery, took the New Family Business Award for firms operating for 10 years or less. The eight-year-old winery won medals in its first Oregon State Fair competition and three generations of the Weisinger family assist in the compa ny's operations.

Judges noted the winery's participatory management, with open discussion and infusion of ideas and input and its growth based on detailed planning, budgeting and evaluation.

In Corvallis, Robnett's Hardware earned honors as the 1997 Couple-Owned Family Business. The retail store celebrated its centennial in 1993 and is the oldest family-owned and operated business in Corvallis. The firm's commitment to continuing emphasis on serving customers and carrying on a family tradition for six generations was cited.

Lacey's Bomber Restaurant and Catering in Milwaukie was awarded the Woman-Owned Family Business honor. A WW-II B-17 bomber sets the theme for the restaurant it shrouds. Judges focused on the company's progressive environment that supports family ties, a business strategy that revolves around community involvement and a sense of extended family.

Bend's High Cascade Printing earned the Young Founder Family Business Award for firms with founders 40 years old or younger. Started in 1982 in a single-car garage, the business is carried on by Timothy and Patricia Rausch and their three children.

Judges honored High Cascade Printing for building a team effort, "where even the owner takes out the garbage," and where the children go to the shop during school breaks. Also noted was the support shown for each family member when catch-up and bookkee ping work needs to be done on weekends.

OSU's Austin Family Business Program, founded in 1985, focuses on needs of Oregon's large number of family-owned businesses. Program research centers on succession planning, ownership transition and community service.

Criteria for the awards are business development, family-business linkage, contributions to community and industry, innovative business strategies and practices, succession preparedness, and, except for new and young founder firms, multi-generational f amily business involvement and longevity.

The awards and related educational activities are supported by corporate partner U.S. Bank and awards underwriters: The Business Journal, MassMutual, Perkins and Company, Stoel Rives, Transition Dynamics, and Merrill Lynch.