2. Using Advocacy and the Power of Story
We introduce audiences to compelling family businesses —and advocate on behalf of them — by telling their stories.
FAMILY MATTERS - the original series
This documentary-series takes you on a journey to the unexpected corners of the country where you'll find the most fascinating, outlandish, and legendary family businesses, which are oftentimes the best in the world at what they do. In the pilot episode, I visit the fabled Henderson guitar workshop, where Wayne and his daughter make some of the most coveted guitars in the world. How coveted? Eric Clapton was on the waitlist for 7 years.
Shopping Family is more important than ever
COVID has hit family businesses especially hard, because they don't have the billion-dollar cushions, rainy-day funds, and access to capital that the big corporations have. Now more than ever, it's time to rally and support them.
90% of American businesses are family-owned or controlled.
They account for half the nation's employment.
- U.S. Bureau of the Census
90% have seen some negative impact on their business from COVID.
- Harvard Business Review
Featured family: the Isgros
Having mastered the art of baking in Sicily, while apprenticed to a baron, Mario Isgro then came to America and eventually founded Isgro Pasticerria in South Philly in 1904. Over a century later, the third and fourth generation of Isgros are at work preserving the legacy. The family is immensely proud of this fact. And so is all of Philadelphia, which frequently bestows high honors on the bakery as the best in town. Famous for cannoli, pizza rustica (filled with meat instead of fruit), and anything with ricotta (a cheese they make on premises), they're also well-known for being situated in one of the most colorful neighborhoods in the country, where the cultural flavor in the air nicely complements the flavors of the pastries. - Christian D'Andrea
People worry (rightfully) that big multi-nationals are usurping the marketplace, killing the little guy, homogenizing offerings, and lowering quality. The artisan merchant, the craftsman businessman, the guy or gal who has their trade or business in their blood... they’re all under siege.
So I'm doing something about it. I launched ShopFamily®, a shopping resource that allows you to stand up for something, with every purchase you make. First, the site enlists all of you in helping identify the great businesses that are still in the family. And then ShopFamily aggregates them in one easy-to-use depot—searchable by location and type of product or service. So you can effortlessly learn about, and shop from, established family businesses.
These family-run businesses make great stuff, from candy bars to bicycles to rockets to wine to the world’s purest apple vinegar. And yes, each business showcased by ShopFamily consists of more than one generation of family members directly involved in the business. That’s what makes them special. They care more deeply, because it’s a legacy. And that passion benefits the consumer. Let's be honest, wouldn't you rather buy from someone who considers her business a matter of family honor?
Do yourself a favor, and get it from the good guys... get it from the families. It’s the right thing to do, and on top of that, the goods and services are better! Because the people making them really care.
So, shop, buy, and stand up for something.
Christian D'Andrea created a family business — SoldierFuel.com — with his two brothers.
He believes strongly that family businesses are the backbone of American business. So supporting and strengthening them is a personal passion.
He looked around and saw that there was Shop Small and Shop Local, but no Shop Family. So he created it.
Executive Director of FDU's Rothman Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Dale Caldwell is one of the most highly-regarded figures in the world of family business advocacy.
Son of the legendary Civil Rights activist Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell (who marched with MLK), Dale has a deep-rooted passion for doing good by harnessing the power of education, outreach, advocacy, and creative enterprise.