A Lesson in Longevity: How J. E. Rhoads Survived for Over 300 Years to Become One of the Oldest Manufacturers in America

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Kelly Kilcrease


F or most small family businesses, one of the owner's most
important goals is to stay in operation for as long as possible and
then perhaps pass the company on to the next generation. The
likelihood of this happening, however, is not promising. From
a contemporary perspective, two-thirds of new employer firms
survive at least two years, but only about half make it to four
years. Further, only 15 percent of family businesses last beyond
the second generation. One American organization, however, has overcome these odds and has survived for over 300 years. Further, for 291 of
those years, one family ran the organization.

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