10 American Entrepreneurs Who Built Successful Family Businesses

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10 American Entrepreneurs Who Built Successful Family Businesses

Many iconic companies in the United States have started off as small family businesses, with the founders passing down their entrepreneurial spirit and legacy to their children and grandchildren. From retail giants to fast-food chains, these successful family businesses have stood the test of time and continue to thrive in today’s competitive market.

Here are 10 American entrepreneurs who built successful family businesses:

1. Sam Walton – Walmart

Sam Walton founded Walmart in 1962 and turned it into the world’s largest retailer. He passed the business down to his four children, who are now among the wealthiest people in the world.

2. Ray Kroc – McDonald’s

Ray Kroc acquired McDonald’s in 1961 and transformed it into a global fast-food chain. His sons and daughter still run the company today.

3. Blake Nordstrom – Nordstrom

Blake Nordstrom was the co-president of Nordstrom, Inc. until his death in 2019. The company was founded in 1901 by his great-grandfather John W. Nordstrom and has since grown to become one of the largest luxury department store chains in the world.

4. Phil Knight – Nike

Phil Knight co-founded Nike in 1964 with Bill Bowerman, and the company became an international sportswear powerhouse. His son Travis is currently the CEO of the company.

5. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield – Ben & Jerry’s

Ben & Jerry’s was co-founded by childhood friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield in 1978. The ice cream company became an overnight sensation, and although it has since been sold to a larger corporation, they remain involved in the business.

6. Julia and Alex Van Horn – Easton Outfitters

Julia and Alex Van Horn took over their family’s outdoors company, Easton Outfitters, in 2016. The business was founded in the 1920s by their great-grandfather, and they have expanded it to a worldwide leader in outdoor sports gear.

7. Kenneth Cole – Kenneth Cole Productions

Kenneth Cole started his eponymous brand in 1982 and grew it into a global fashion powerhouse. His children are now involved in the business, and the company recently went public.

8. Lillian Vernon – Lillian Vernon Corporation

Lillian Vernon founded her catalog company in 1951 and built it into one of the largest personalized gift and home decor retailers in the world. Her son, David Hochberg, now runs the company.

9. John Paul DeJoria – Paul Mitchell Systems

John Paul DeJoria co-founded Paul Mitchell Systems, a hair care company, in 1980. He grew the company into a multi-million dollar business, and his son now runs the company.

10. William Davidson – Guardian Industries Corp

William Davidson founded Guardian Industries Corp in 1932, a company that manufactures glass products for construction, automotive and other industries. Davidson’s son, Bill, now runs the company and has continued to expand its offerings.

These American entrepreneurs and their family businesses have created lasting legacies and changed the game in their respective industries. From humble beginnings to global empires, their commitment to innovation, hard work, and family values have made them an inspiration to all aspiring entrepreneurs.

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