By Mike Flaim
This article first appeared in the Winter 2017 issue of Massachusetts Family Business magazine.
The ninth annual Massachusetts Family Business Awards took place this year on Oct. 24, the evening prior to the Family Business Conference, at the Colonnade Hotel in Boston.
Howdy Holmes, former racecar driver and now CEO of Chelsea Milling Co., the makers of Jiffy baking mixes, was the keynote speaker at the awards. With his unpretentious demeanor, enthusiasm for family enterprises and a honed ability to convey his business acumen in a way that feels personalized, Holmes was a natural choice.
Holmes began his remarks by sharing that his family had been in the milling business for six generations and that the Jiffy brand goes back three generation to his grandmother. He had “no background, no training and no manual,” similar to many in the room, but endeavored to continue the family’s legacy. With downtempo charm, he shared anecdotes, dropped bits of wisdom (such as “business is easy – it’s people that are hard”), and cited statistics like “family businesses are responsible for 63 percent of the GDP. Performance-wise, family businesses outperform publicly held businesses in terms of financial returns by about a point and a half.”
Holmes’ enthusiasm and wit was in good company thanks to comedian and emcee Jeff Smith (who goes by J Smitty if you see him on Kevin Hart’s “Hart of the City” or in a Boston comedy club). Businesses from all over the commonwealth were recognized; read their stories in the pages of this issue of Family Business Magazine.
Battle Grounds Coffee
First Generation Business of the Year
Awarded to a company in its first generation
Sapers & Wallack
Small Business of the Year
Awarded to a business with fewer than 50 employees, with multiple generations employed currently or a successful transition to the next generation
Edward D. Tarlow Award for Marketing Excellence
Awarded to a business that has demonstrated unique creativity in its marketing
Medium Business of the Year
Awarded to a company with 50 to 150 employees, with multiple generations employed currently or a successful transition to the next generation
Awarded to a business that has overcome significant adversity
Robert B. Our Co.
Large Business of the Year
Awarded to a company with more than 150 employees, with multiple generations employed currently or a successful transition to the next generation
Community Excellence Award
Awarded to a business that has demonstrated philanthropic excellence and exhibits a deep commitment to underserved communities
Edward D. Tarlow
Regional Family Business Advocacy Award
Awarded at the discretion of the executive directors of the Family Business Association