Corrections or additions?
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
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
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 email@example.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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