Family Run

These Were Our Favorite Family-Run Businesses In 2017

As 2017 comes to a close, we're looking back on the amazing stories we've come across in our original "Family Run" series.


As the year comes to an end, we are looking back on some of the inspiring stories we've come across in our original Lifestyle series, Family Run.  In this monthly series, we profile families who work together in some capacity. From starting businesses, inventing products, collaborating artistically, and beyond, these family members are making positive contributions to the world together, and strengthening their family bonds in the process.

At the beginning of the year, for example, we talked to the Hawthornes who run the Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill chain with the help of over 40 family members. 

"Family means the world to me," Leroy Hawthorne, vice president of retail sales, told A Plus in February. "I really feel privileged and proud to be a part of this family. I wouldn't work for anybody else. Take care of your family ... because that's all you've got."

Sharon Blumberg and her husband Marc were featured for creating CHOOZE, a family-run lifestyle brand with a mission to "empower kids with creativity, confidence, and their power to have a positive impact on the world." We spoke with the Redmond family, known for creating affordable, eco-friendly hair care products, and we wrote about Lily Born who developed Kangaroo Cups for people, like her grandfather, who live with Parkinson's. Rebekka and Randy Hauskins were spotlighted for launching Hayden's Helping Hands (HHH), a business that helps families, like theirs, who had delivered a stillborn baby, but were still paying delivery bills. 

Some family-run businesses are working to encourage acceptance and diversity, such as the Ramaswamy family. Ranee Ramaswamy and her two daughters, Aparna and Ashwini, run the Ragamala Dance Company to promote cultural diversity through choreography and performance. 

"If a person allows themselves to encounter the unfamiliar, to seek out new experiences, they will contribute to a more tolerant and, ultimately, evolved society," Ashwini told A Plus in March. "We believe that art is a vital, non-threatening way for people to understand other cultures and perhaps gain empathy for immigrants."

We found that sometimes a family-run business isn't a brick and mortar candy store or a family of bankers; sometimes it can be a mother and her child working together to impact families outside their own. Take Janet Duke, for example, who was inspired by her daughter Johanna, to launch a non-profit organization called Strong Family Alliance to "provide other parents of LGBTQ children with the resources and support she and her daughter believe are essential to retain loving, accepting, and strengthening relationships between parents and children."

Other businesses have been created by families to be an inclusive space for differently-abled people and/or their caretakers. We loved talking to husband and wife Ben and Amy Wright back in July who opened Bitty & Beau, a coffee shop in Wilmington, North Carolina that employs 40 people with disabilities, as well as two managers who have degrees in special education. 

"Ben and I have four children," Amy told A Plus earlier this year. "Our two youngest, Bitty and Beau, both have Down syndrome. We believe the first step in creating opportunity for Bitty and Beau, and others with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), is changing the way people see people with IDD so that they become valued members of society."  

All in all, our Family Run series has shown that sometimes working with those closest to you can be the best way to foster positivity in the world. Whether that business is bringing important issues to light, making life easier for those living with intellectual or physical disabilities, promoting diversity and acceptance of people of all different cultures, races, religions, and orientations, or just creating delicious treats to share with the community, we love to see the inspirational things families can do when they work together. 

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