The comfort and challenges of running a family-owned business

Posted On March 6, 2020

There’s something special about a family-owned business. And in many of them, no one knows that better than the employees.

“I think when you have a family-owned business, I think you get very close to employees, especially employees that have been around a really long time,” said Brent Barkin, president and CEO of Shoe Station, and our guest in a recent episode of “What’s Working with Cam Marston.”

“Because of the longevity of being a family-owned business, you kind of grow up around these people. I wouldn’t say it’s trite that you starting thinking of them as family,” says Barkin, whose Mobile-based company operates 21 stores in five states. “I think by having that kind of link to the business where you yourself grew up in it, I think you’re a little more in tune with those employees that have also grown up in the business and whose families have grown  up in the business.”

But there are challenges to running a family-owned business as well – particularly in succession planning. Barkin discusses how that process went when he assumed control of the business from his father, Terry, who founded it in 1984, and the lessons he’s learned from seeing other business owners struggle with it.

In a wide-ranging discussion, Barkin also shares the regional preferences in styles that still hold despite the homogenizing effects of social media, the importance of having hobbies outside of the business, how he manages a manageable level of selection in the store, and the challenge coronavirus is currently presenting to the supply chain.

Join us for a comfortable discussion about shoes and family-owned businesses.

Categories: Entrepreneurship, What's Working with Cam Marston