The history of Cowles Company spans over a century in Washington State. William H. Cowles came to Spokane in 1891 to be the business manager of the newspaper The Spokesman, which was founded less than two years before. He soon bought The Spokesman from his partners and in 1894 he bought a rival paper, The Review, merging the two papers into The Spokesman-Review. William H. Cowles’ grandson, William Cowles III, ran and expanded the business until he died suddenly of a heart attack in 1992. His brother then stewarded the business until turning the reigns over to his nephew and niece, W. Stacey Cowles and Elisabeth Cowles.
Today, Cowles Company is a diversified media, forest products, insurance and real estate company with a presence in more than 10 states.
Fourth generation family business members Betsy and Stacey discussed dealing with sudden leadership change, preparing the next generation, and the need for reinvention.