Top family-owned businesses in the midstate point to strength that comes from having built-in people to lean on within their organizations.
Clair and Cliff Weaver founded Lancaster County-based Landmark Builders Inc., doing business as Landmark Homes, about 15 years ago when the brothers were in real estate sales and the building industry respectively, Executive Vice President Clair Weaver said.
The two know the ins and outs of the business together and can bounce ideas off each other with positive results, Weaver said.
"A sole proprietor, I think, would be kind of a very hard business to run, because you maybe don't have that sounding board for ideas," he said.
Often, one brother will have an idea for a marketing strategy or features of a model home and the other will jump in with a way to make it better, Weaver said.
Being family also means they can talk with each other a little more directly, he said.
"If it's on our mind, we'll speak it," Weaver said.
The brothers also have an open-door policy with employees to come in and share ideas, and employees know they can speak with either one of them freely, he said.
Since there are two of them, it also means that at vacation or other times away from the office, one can lean on the other to take care of things, Weaver said.
It allows for a disconnect from the day-to-day needs of the company for recharging and for thinking about the big-picture ideas of how to improve the business, he said.
Business activity has been picking up in the past year to 18 months, and a focus today is making sure the company has lined up what it needs for the increased volume, Weaver said.
Dauphin County-based Talley Petroleum Enterprises Inc. Vice President Allen Talley's wife, son and two brothers work in the business, and his mother is a shareholder. His father founded the petroleum products business in the early 1960s.
Working with family means you have people you can lean on to help get things done, Talley said. There's also built-in trust and strong communication. And in lean times, they could depend on each other without having to hire more people to get the work done, he said.
Talley has been in the business for more than 30 years, and his brothers are 20-plus-year veterans, Talley said.
"I don't think we would be here at the place we are if it were not for the family hanging together," he said.
Talley said he couldn't point to just one thing that led to strong year-over-year revenue increase other than simply expanding on what the company does well. In the end, the business boils down to providing fuel to people who need it, he said.