Family owned businesses are important to Clark County

Welcome to the Vancouver Business Journal’s first-ever special edition on family owned businesses! If you look through the editorial calendar on our website (www.vbjusa.com), you’ll notice that we will offer not one, but two special editions on family owned businesses throughout this year; the second one will be published on Sept. 27, and will include a family oriented event on the following Saturday, Sept. 28. Details on the event will be announced at a later date.

As you read through this special edition of the VBJ, you’ll notice that it focuses on just some of the many family owned businesses that are in the Southwest Washington area. This edition aims to honor family businesses within Southwest Washington that set the standard for excellence and success. You’ll notice that some of the businesses profiled in this edition have been around for decades, while some have only been around for a couple of years.

Many of the area’s family owned businesses have multiple generations involved in the business, while others might simply be a company started by a husband-and-wife team, a mother-and-son team, etc. These family companies often grow the business while serving their communities in any way they can.

Here are a few quick facts about family owned businesses, according to the Conway Center for Family Business, www.familybusinesscenter.com:

Family businesses account for 64 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, generate 62 percent of the country’s employment and account for 78 percent of all new job creation.

Studies have shown about 35 percent of Fortune 500 companies are family controlled and represent the full spectrum of American companies from small business to major corporations.

More than 30 percent of all family owned businesses make the transition in second generation. Twelve percent will still be viable into into the third generation, with only 3 percent of all family businesses operating at a fourth generation level and beyond.

The tenure of leadership in Family Enterprise is four to five times longer than their counterparts.

The largest family owned business in the U.S. is Walmart Inc., with $499.4 billion in net sales and 2.2 million employees worldwide in 2016.

To see more facts and statistics on family owned businesses in the U.S., visit https://www.familybusinesscenter.com/resources/family-business-facts/.

There are obviously many, many more family owned businesses in the Clark County area than we had to space to include in this issue, and while we are aware of many of them, if any of our readers have any suggestions on family owned businesses that we should profile in the future, please contact me at jyorke@vbjusa.com and let me know! We hope you enjoy this issue.

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Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start ClarkCountyToday.com.