Fifth Annual Summer Fiction Issue

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This column was 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

43).

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 46).

Family businesses may in fact be no more fragile than any other kind

of business. Tom Kaplan, faculty advisor to the Family Business Forum

at Fairleigh Dickinson, claims that family businesses don’t fail at

rates different from any other kind. Family businesses fail for the

same reasons as non-family businesses — for business reasons, not

family reasons.

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Fifth Annual Summer Fiction Issue

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. 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 nbplett@princetoninfo.com (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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