Corrections or additions?
These articles were prepared for the May 30, 2001 edition of U.S.
1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Between the Lines
Are family businesses really as fragile as everyone thinks they are?
Consultants furrow their brows over such issues as "succession
planning," "estate taxes," and "communication strategies." Both
Rutgers and Fairleigh Dickinson hold special (and not inexpensive)
yearly forums for parents and children who hope to maximize profits
through the next generation.
So when we did a technology roundup on fiber optics recently, we were
intrigued to come across a family business that was as interesting for
its origins as for what it made. Norland Products was founded 40 years
ago with an old technology product, and is being run now — with new
technology products — by three of the founder’s five sons (see page
Later that week we came across another old family business name, Bon
Ton. Remember the long-gone Bon Ton stores? That retail store segued
into the wallpaper business and ended up as a victim of the big box
stores. A scion of the Bon Ton founder, Mark Gross, has struck out for
himself in a new direction, financial planning, but he is using the
familiar family name (page tk).
We asked some consultants whether family businesses are indeed more
fragile than most. Their consensus is that family businesses fail for
the same reasons as non-family businesses — for business reasons, not
Tom Kaplan, faculty advisor to Family Business Forum at Fairleigh
Dickinson University, is one of those who claim that family
businesses don’t fail at rates different from any other kind. "Ask
yourself how many old businesses there are," says Kaplan.
In the last century and the early part of this one, newspaper editors
used fiction — serialized novels — to increase their circulation.
Last week the Wall Street Journal decided to revive the tradition by
printing fiction, chapter by chapter, starting on the front page of
Friday’s "soft" consumer feature section. (Lest everyone think the WSJ
has gone way too soft, the editors hasten to add that its choice,
Danielle Crittenden’s "Amanda Bright@Home," is not "just" fiction, but
also "tough minded social and political commentary.")
We at U.S. 1 have long noted that people like a good story. If the
Wall Street Journal and the Sopranos television series are not proof
enough, then consider our forthcoming Fifth Annual Summer Fiction
Issue. Each year we devote almost an entire issue to everything but
objective journalism — and our readers love it. We invite you to
present your original short fiction, humor, poetry, or — in honor of
the Sopranos screenwriters — short play or screenplay for our special
issue to be published on Wednesday, July 25.
To participate in the U.S. 1 Summer Fiction issue, submit your
unpublished work in any of these categories: short stories, humor,
poems, drama or fiction excerpts (2,500 words or less). This year’s
limit is one entry per category per writer. All entries must be
received no later than Wednesday, June 27, by mail to U.S. 1
Newspaper, 12 Roszel Road, Suite C-205, Princeton 08540; as
an E-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org (no attachments,
please); or by fax to 609-452-0033.
Preference will be given to central New Jersey writers whose work
addresses a theme or place relevant to the greater Princeton business
community. Include your name, address, daytime phone number, and a
brief biographical sketch with your submission. Authors retain all
rights; U.S. 1 will pay a small honorarium for one-time publication.
Our writers’ reception and publication party in August will celebrate
all submitting authors. Questions? Call Nicole Plett at 609-452-7000.
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