SOUTH PORTLAND – With a family business, there’s no such thing as a separation of work and home, said Masey Kaplan, who created Close Buy Catalog, based in Portland.

As one of six Maine family businesses honored on Monday at the Maine Family Business Awards, Kaplan knows it takes help from her whole family to keep afloat the school-fundraising catalog company that feature Maine artists and vendors.

“It’s all hands on deck — my husband, my mom, my boys, everyone,” she said .

The company, which features Maine products that can be sold as fundraisers for schools, won the innovation award.

“When you’re working from home and recruiting your family to help, there’s no such thing as work-life separation. Ever,” Kaplan said.

That’s a refrain heard throughout the crowd of about 300 guests at the awards dinner, which was held at the Portland Marriott at Sable Oaks and organized by the Institute for Family-Owned Businesses.

Dean Cole, who co-founded D. Cole Jewelers in Portland with his wife, Denise, more than 30 years ago, said working with eight family members means they often mix talk about work with life.

But keeping sanity in the family “is less of a challenge than I thought it would be,” Dean Cole said. “It’s about knowing your job and giving everyone the room to grow and not playing the mom and dad role at work.”

D. Cole won the small-business award for companies with fewer than 25 employees.

“I think we’re lucky. In so many family businesses, they fight and you hear about the static. It might be hard to juggle life and work, but it really is freaky how well we all get along” with two generations and in-laws working together, Denise Cole said.

In Maine, about 80 percent of businesses are family owned, with fewer than 30 percent surviving to the second generation and less than 13 percent making it to the third generation, according to the Institute for Family-Owned Businesses.

Other award winners are Central Street Farmhouse of Bangor, which won the first generations award; Hannan’s Electric of South Portland, which took home the customer service award; The Wolak Group of Falmouth, which won the community service award; and Agren Appliance and Television of Auburn, which won the large business award for companies with more than 25 employees.

Jessica Hall can be contacted at 791-6316 or at:

[email protected]


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