Family Businesses Going Strong in Edmonds
Edmonds is steeped in rich history, from turn of the century buildings to annual community events that span over 100 years like our beloved 4th of July celebration. Another rich part of Edmonds history involves business, specifically companies that have been passed down to younger generations of the same family.
Family business makes up the foundation of the American economy, with 90% of all businesses being family-owned or controlled. This includes everything from small one or two-person operations all the way to Fortune 500 companies. And family-owned business employs roughly 50% of our nation’s workforce.
Statistically, though, only 30% of family-owned business makes it to the second generation. However, when a company is able to maintain this continuity, the positive impacts in the community are multiple.
We sat down to chat with three local family-owned multi-generation businesses – Insurance Services Group, Cline Jewelers, and The Wooden Spoon – to find out why they’ve stayed in Edmonds and what they love most about being located in our community.
Ed!: Tell us about how your company got started
Trevor Campbell of Insurance Services Group: My father, Scott Campbell, started the company in 1980. This August we will be celebrating 38-years. The office was originally located in North Seattle but we have been in Edmonds for more than 20-years. I joined the agency in 1997 and that’s when we moved the agency to Edmonds. The transition from my dad to myself took place gradually over the years, and much of it happened as we grew the company and added several other office locations.
Andy Cline of Cline Jewelers: Cline Jewelers started in 1980 by my father Jerry Cline. We started as a wholesale jewelry manufacture repairing and making custom jewelry for stores throughout the Pacific Northwest. I joined the business in 1999 after finishing college and started managing the retail operations of the business in 2001. My dad retired in 2010.
Jenny Shore of The Wooden Spoon: The Wooden Spoon opened on December 1st 1971. Our store was originally located at 319 Main Street in Edmonds and was founded by friends Barbara Sanborn and my mother, Cheryl Null. Both ladies had lost their husbands and oldest sons in a commercial airline accident and needed a new way to support their families. Having no experience in the business world they decided to open a store that focused on what they knew how to do: cook. At the time there was no such thing as a “kitchen store.” Pots, pans and cooking implements were purchased at your local grocery store or Frederick & Nelson. There were a limited number of wholesalers in the kitchen world then – perhaps 10 companies; today we order from over 100 vendors.
Ed!: How has your company evolved over the years?
Trevor Campbell: Technology and information has made everything faster. Through the years, we have invested in that, hired amazing staff who understands and appreciates the every-changing insurance industry, and we continue to foster strong relationships with our carrier partners. This has allowed us to help serve families and businesses now in five locations across Western Washington. What has not changed is the fact our clients trust us and depend on us to help them make important decisions. At the core of who we are and what we do has always been our relationships and the service we provide our clients.
Andy Cline: Our focus has shifted from dealing with other jewelry stores as a wholesaler-focused company to working directly with the public in our retail showroom. We offer customers the ability to shop from a ready-made selection in our showcases or we can work with them to create a one-of-a-kind piece of custom jewelry. Technology has played a key role in our business. We now are able to create jewelry designs in CAD (Computer Aided Design) and made the models with a 3D printer all done on-site right here in Edmonds.
Jenny Shore: The business slowly grew, and in 1992 Barbara decided to focus on raising her horses and my mother Cheryl became the sole owner of The Wooden Spoon. In 1990 the store moved to its current location at 104 5th Avenue South. When Cheryl died in 2008 the business was passed along to her children who run it today: daughter-in-law Dolly Null who began working at the store in 1981; her son Dan who performs maintenance and helps with upgrades; and myself, who has worked at the store since its opening. We have also had the good fortune to have outstanding employees who share our same commitment to excellent customer service, all of whom who have been with us for many years.
Ed!: Tell us what you love most about being in business in Edmonds
Trevor Campbell: The sense of community. There is nothing like walking down the street recognizing clients who have become great friends. Our team is very community-minded. We love supporting other local business owners and we love knowing we are making a difference in our own backyard. As we continue to grow, we don’t forget how we started and where we started and the fact Edmonds will always be home.
One of the things we are most proud of is our support of Washington Kids in Transition. We have been lucky enough to work alongside this amazing organization from the start. Watching the community awareness and support grow and playing a role in that has been awesome for our team and our company. Safeco Insurance selected Washington Kids for two large community donations due to the volunteer work and efforts our team has been able to provide over the last several years. We also love supporting local events. This year we helped sponsor the Kid Zone at Taste Edmonds and for the past three years we’ve participated in the Edmonds Bookshop’s ‘Where’s Waldo’ contest. Our team has received several elite customer service based awards as well – helping highlight our commitment and dedication to what we do every day. It’s an exciting time for Insurance Services Group and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Andy Cline: I love the sense of community and small town feel of Edmonds. I feel very fortunate being able to live and work in this town. We support a number of local schools and organizations each year, always with an emphasis on children and education. Personally, I was just named on the board of the Edmonds Center for the Arts which is an organization that I’m proud to be involved with.
Jenny Shore: There are so many positive aspects of being located here in Edmonds for so many (almost 50!) years. Our customers are amazing and we have many families who have supported us for several generations. We also appreciate how all of the businesses in Edmonds support each other. Every business owner is looking out for each other, and our pride in our community shows.
We have also been fortunate in that we have been able to support local schools, The Edmonds Food Bank and other charitable organizations over the years. Edmonds is our hometown and we appreciate being here.
Ed! would like to thank these business owners for taking the time to share a behind the scenes look into the history and evolution of their companies. Small independent business and family-owned business make up an important part of the vibrant fabric of our community. For more information about all the local businesses in downtown Edmonds, please visit http://edmondsdowntown.org/.
By Kelsey Foster