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Building Through the Family

Studies show the average lifespan of a family-owned business is twenty-four years. Fewer than half become second-generation family businesses, and only 3 percent are passed successfully to the fourth generation or beyond.

In its fourth generation of family ownership, Yancey Bros. Co. hits the century mark stronger than ever. Jim Stephenson, whose wife, Donna, is the daughter of Don Yancey, the company’s second president, believes that success is due in part to the Yancey family’s choices through the generations.

Unlike the succession plans of family businesses that are passed on from parent to child, Yancey Bros. Co. passed from uncle to nephew to younger brother to nephew-in-law—not a single straight line. “There were opportunities for the business to go different directions,” Jim says, “but succession decisions were made based on what was best for the business, and that has allowed the business to best provide for all of our company’s families.”

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