Recently, Ed Newbegin and Sue Russell of RM Wade & Co. shared the story of their 150 year old family business with other family business owners as part of Davis Wright Tremaine's Family Business Legacy Series in Portland.

From pioneer beginnings navigating the Oregon Trail, to setting up shop in the Dalles in 1862, to a recent expansion into the international marketplace with interests in Mexico, South America and Africa, R.M. Wade & Co. has taken advantage of opportunities, survived, and thrived by acquiring other companies, developing new products, and expanding into underserved markets. Management of the business is now being transitioned to the fifth generation.

When asked for advice on how to successfully transition from one generation to the next, Sue Russell emphasized the importance of passion – the family members who run the business have to have a real passion for it, and those who do not should be allowed to develop their own passions.   The importance of passion is also highlighted in a recent story featured in the New York Times, profiling the family business that makes Smarties, a favorite Halloween candy.

They highlighted the importance of passion for the business in their success.  The importance of passion is also highlighted in a recent story featured in the New York Times, profiling the family business that makes Smarties a favorite Halloween candy.

At 91, Mr. Dee still comes into the office, walks the factory floor and offers suggestions to his granddaughters — Liz Dee, 31, and Jessica Dee Sawyer, 34, who are sisters, and their cousin, Sarah Dee, also 34, all of whom now run the day-to-day operations. “He could be in Florida, relaxing, but he’s here because he loves it,” Liz Dee said. “It’s in his blood. It’s in all of our blood.”

Smarties Candy Company is now in its third generation, and if future generations are also born with candy making in their blood, it should be around for a few more generations.  Read more here.

Maggie Vining counsels high-net-worth individuals, business owners, and families in trusts and estates matters. She advises on wealth transfer, estate, gift, and business succession planning, and represents clients in the administration of trusts and estates. Margaret also works with tax-exempt organizations and charitable foundations. Contact Maggie at 503.778.5249 or [email protected]