What constitutes a family business?

I’ve never fully understood what makes a company a family business. Does the fact that my husband and I own and run Excel Vending make it a family business?  

The fact that we have always tried to treat our team as extended family members may make us think of it in these terms. So many of them have been with us for so long that we know them and their families very well. We’ve shared the day-to-day experiences of so many; the birth of children, the first day at school, heard about their graduations and enjoyed the odd social gathering. So, we like to think we’ve created a family atmosphere, but we probably accept that we wouldn’t be considered a family business until now.

Recently, things have changed. Our children have chosen to join the business; not altogether surprising since they have been around the office since they were tots. So, we think we can now start considering Excel Vending to be a family business.

Both have decided for themselves, and both are focussing on areas that play to their strengths. Of course, they will spend time working in the company’s various departments to get a firm grasp of the business and the industry, but each has a specific interest. 

Like so many of her peers, Daughter Eilidh has a keen interest in the environment. I am delighted our reverse vending operation will let her work in an area of the business that will positively impact the environment. With the impending introduction of the Deposit Return Scheme on 1st July 2022, there is much to be done to help retailers get ready for the new legislation. Eilidh undoubtedly has a lot to do. However, Excel’s excellent work in reverse vending since 2017 means she is joining a business leading the way in the reverse vending technology required to implement the government’s Deposit Return Scheme.  

Son, Harry has always been interested in engineering and mechanics. Taking things apart and rebuilding them to see how they work has been a habit from a young age. Fortunately, his aptitude for rebuilding prevailed most of the time! So, it’s not surprising that Harry has chosen to join the engineering side of the operation currently managed by his father, John.

Technology continues to develop at a rapid pace. Since Excel began trading in 1993, we’ve seen enormous advances in vending machines. With the arrival of smart machines managed remotely, touchless technology and, of course, reverse vending, the world of unattended retailing is a very different place. Keeping abreast of the latest technology has been the key to Excel’s success over the past 28 years, so we’re delighted to welcome new blood with a genuine passion for machinery and making things work. 

So, I think Excel Vending is now undoubtedly a family business. Both John and I have always worked to a strong set of values and welcomed everyone in the team as if they were our own family. It’s great to see the team welcoming Eilidh and Harry and sharing their knowledge and experience with the next generation of MacDonalds.

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