Eric Bassett, 20, started working for his family’s business, Bassetts Ice Cream, in Philadelphia when he was only 15 years old. The company has been in business since 1861 when Eric’s great-great-great-grandfather started selling ice cream in his backyard. They still have the original marble counter installed by the family, and people who went there as children now bring their kids. Although Eric wasn’t interested in getting involved at first, he now feels responsible for carrying the business forward.
“I was 15 when I started working in the family business,” said Eric. “I didn’t have much interest, but my father insisted that I try it. My job was scooping ice cream. Now I do a little bit of everything, including accounting, hiring and scheduling.”
Eric works at Bassetts Ice Cream five days a week, while also attending St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia as a full time student. “Friends of my parents think it’s challenging, but it’s what I know,” Eric said of his busy schedule. Working on a double major in food marketing and family business and entrepreneurship, Eric sometimes has to take night classes and work weekends to get five days in. He also has to struggle with the occasional bad day, when the freezer breaks and employees don’t show up. But overall, he’s finding working at the family business to be a rewarding experience.
“Sometimes it’s overwhelming,” Eric admitted. “Even when we go on vacation, we’re always looking at food establishments for ideas. But it’s also fun because it’s such a historic company. I didn’t want to do it at first, but after I started, I did like it.”
When asked his advice for other young people who are considering working in the family business, Eric said they shouldn’t feel pressured into it if it’s not something they want to do. We at ReGENERATION Partners definitely agree that forcing expectations of carrying on the family business on younger generations develops stress and conflict. Our team of experts can effectively guide and improve your family’s communication to avoid unnecessary conflict and continue your success.