Doing business with dad

These five father-child teams say starting a small business together was a leap of faith, but they all agree that the secret to their success is trust.

Gary and Eric GrefRath
Gary and Eric GrefRath
Business: Print shop

"(My son) Eric was always complaining about the politics and structure of corporate life," said Gary GrefRath, 66. So Gary, who taught a small business management course at the community college, decided that the two of them should start their own small business.

Because of Eric's technical skills and Gary's sales and marketing experience, they chose to open an AlphaGraphics franchise, which offers digital copying, printing, archiving and mail services to other small- and medium-sized businesses.

Two years later the business is growing steadily and should achieve profitability by the end of the year, according to Gary.

"I didn't really know what to expect," Eric admits about venturing into a business partnership with his father, "but it's going well - he knows what he's doing... most of the time," he added.

"We've always been best friends, he puts up with me and I put up with him," Gary said with a laugh.

Gary and Eric GrefRath

Bob and Rean Stucker

Mike New

Jim and Tom Dozios

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