Building the Family Business Tradition

Long before big box stores and multinational corporations became the dominant forces in commerce, small – and some not-so-small – family businesses were the lifeblood of most communities. While family businesses have faded from most industries and have become as much a piece of Americana as a part of the present American business landscape, that’s not necessarily so in the drain cleaning business.

Rooter-Man North of Lawrence, Mass., profiled in this issue of Cleaner, is a great example of how family businesses are forging ahead. Glenn and Suzanne Daigle started the business in 1982 with two trucks and a rodding machine. Today, they have a fleet of 15 vehicles and the equipment to tackle any job. They grew into a trusted company with a strong reputation, and now their sons, who have been around the business all their lives, are taking over the reins. Neither son was pushed to join – let alone take over – the family business; they grew into it naturally.

“It’s very challenging working with your family, but the trust and camaraderie you have with your family is not like anything else,” said Matt Daigle, who takes care of business inside the office while brother Chris focuses on work in the field.

The Daigles’ story highlights the opportunities that come from hard work and the fact the American dream is still alive and well in this industry. I find it easy to connect with these stories, because in the end, it’s all about the people.

Family businesses, and small businesses in general, are something I greatly admire. Entrepreneurship is in my blood, so to speak. My paternal grandfather, who immigrated to this country alone at age 13, eventually owned a billiard hall on a small-town main street. My grandmother (Yia-yia, we called her in Greek) owned and operated a candy shop.

On the maternal side, my grandfather owned and operated the longest running Evinrude outboard motor dealership in Wisconsin. When he started out, the motors were far from commonplace, and he used to walk up and down the town’s main street with a motor over his shoulder, stopping to talk about it with anyone who showed interest. Today, the business is still going strong under the ownership of his son.

My father was also an entrepreneur at heart, and my mother owned a couple businesses of her own, including an antique store she operated for close to 30 years. I stepped in and ran it myself for a few years when she fell ill, and I felt a great pride in carrying on that tradition. I know it’s the same pride felt in many other family businesses, like those featured in this issue, where quality and integrity are the foundation of everything.

Accurate Leak and Line is another family business carving out its niche. The Montgomery brothers – Scott, Chad and Josh – founded the company in 2002. They haven’t been around as long as the Daigles, but they’re a great example of how these types of businesses are thriving in this industry, and even moving it forward. In nine years, the brothers have added 20 employees and have grown into a substantial operation with four locations across Texas. Together, the brothers have prospered, and they’ve created an opportunity for the next generation of their family.

Stories of successful family businesses like these show up on the pages of this magazine on an almost-monthly basis. They’re a testament to the ties that bind, to the spirit of the American worker and to the nature of this industry, where families can work together to serve their communities and further the next generation. It may be a different business from those I grew up around, but there’s an underlying bond that in many ways ties all small-business owners together. Once you’ve run your own business, you have great appreciation for the people who do it successfully.

Enjoy the stories on the Daigles and Montgomery brothers, and keep reading to get to know more about the families who work together to make their communities and this industry better. C


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.