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March 30, 2014

4 generations, 1 business

Juanita Hurd heads up family tax business with granddaughter

For Juanita Hurd, family time isn’t just on weekends and holidays.

It’s every day.

Hurd, one of the partners in Dibble and Hurd Tax Services in Logansport, works with her daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter for long hours each tax season. In the morning, her daughter, Vicky Cree, picks her up on their way in to work from their homes in Adamsboro.

Once they arrive at Dibble and Hurd’s offices on Logansport’s west side, they’re joined by Cree’s daughter Heather Moody. Heather’s daughter, 16-year-old Jessica Moody, joins the crew after school. Together, the women make four generations, each 20 years apart in age — and are four of 10 employees at the accounting service.

They spend breakfast, lunch and dinner together during tax season, Heather Moody said. Her daughter Jessica — Hurd’s great-granddaughter — gives up her spring break each year to work in the office. But she doesn’t mind too much.

Instead, Jessica thinks working together “brings us closer together,” she said.

Working in a family business brings challenges unlike those in other businesses, like dealing with family conflict or making sure the business survives the death or retirement of its founding generation.

In fact, it’s unusual to find four generations working in the same family business, at least as far as Monty Henderson knows.

Henderson, a business adviser with the Indiana Small Business Development Center, says most family businesses don’t outlast the founder’s retirement, often because the next generation is uninterested in taking over or isn’t adequately prepared.

While more than 30 percent of all family-owned businesses survive into the second generation, just 12 percent are still viable in the third generation, according to statistics compiled by the Family Firm Institute.

“I’ve been doing business advising for seven years now, and it is hard for multi-generational businesses to survive,” Henderson said. “All business is tough. It requires a pretty good set of skills.”

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