Family-owned businesses find it’s relatively easy to work together

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For many people, co-workers are an extension of family.

They share stories around the water cooler, celebrate birthdays with office cupcakes or luncheons, step up to help when times get rough and exchange gifts around the holidays.

But for some employees, like those working at Brutzman’s Office Solutions in Richland and Tippett Company in Pasco, co-workers literally are family.

Bob Tippett was attending Boise State University when his father, Robert Tippett, called to say he’d be in town and wanted to have dinner.

“And he explained to me that his company was growing more than he could handle, and he wanted to know if I wanted to come to work with him,” he said. “My wife knew I had an itch to be in business that had to be scratched, so (my wife) Meri Lee said, ‘Let’s do it and stick it out two years whether it’s good or bad.’ And it turned out Dad was a great mentor.”

Tippett Company launched in 1969 with Robert Tippett acting as a mortgage loan correspondent for a major life insurance company. He specialized in large irrigation farm projects, and with Bob Tippett’s education in accounting, the father-son team quickly diversified into orchards, vineyards, dairies and cattle ranches.

“For a young guy, my dad gave me a lot more responsibility,” said younger Tippett. “I had to learn a lot of things pretty fast, things that I depended on him for. I was never worried working with Dad. We got along and never had a difficult relationship.”

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Jessica Hoefer

Jessica Hoefer

Jessica Hoefer is a freelance writer based in Prosser and a contributor to numerous print and online publications. When she’s not working on a news story, she can be found on the soccer field, at her local library or holed up in her office working on her next Young Adult novel.

View all posts by Jessica Hoefer