Family affair

In a time that's seeing large companies struggle under the financial strain of a recession, business is all about pulling together as a team. Elizabeth Barnett talks to four Hampshire businesses that have found success by working as a family

Names: Peter and Darren CooperCompany: Peter Cooper Group, Southampton, Portsmouth & Hedge EndEstablished: 1981The Peter Cooper Group, originally based in Hedge End, is one of the south coast's Volkswagen dealerships and over the past 28 years has grown to include sites in Portsmouth, Shirley and Chichester.

Peter first became involved in the Volkswagen group after emigrating to Australia in 1965. He lived in the country for 11 years but when his son Darren and daughter Shelley became old enough to go to school, the family moved back to the UK where Peter quickly found work at a dealership in Dorchester. 


"He always made it clear that there would be no handouts and easy rides, which I think is something that every child needs to hear before entering the family business"

After working his way up through the company he soon began to realise his flair for car sales and before long began looking for an opportunity to own his own dealership. Born and bred in Southampton, Peter was delighted when an old Renault site came up in Hedge End and immediately set about creating the basis for the landmark that the family are so proud of today. Peter's son Darren began working with his father at the weekends before going off to study for a degree in economics: "I used to come in and wash all of the courtesy vehicles on a Saturday and as I grew up within the business it almost became a second home for me. I love cars and have always had a huge interest in them and the motoring industry and it was a great bond that dad and I could share." Using his dad's success as inspiration for his own work, Darren joined the businesses after graduating and was quick to find his footing on the first step of the ladder: "Dad always said don't just come straight in to the business, go and do your studies and then if it doesn't work out then you have something to fall back on. He always made it clear that there would be no handouts and easy rides, which I think is something that every child needs to hear before entering in to a family business." He has since gone on to develop the business, taking on an additional site in Shirley and has great ambitions for the future: "Volkswagen is a very stable, strong, family orientated brand and this is something I hope to be able to carry on throughout my time here."Names: David and Judy Janaway, Robbie and Abby Janaway and Emma and Ian HiggensCompany: Newlyns Farm Shop, near Hook & WeyhillEstablished: 1918Based in North Warnborough near Hook, Newlyns Farm Shop offers a fantastic array of fresh produce, all of which is farmed on site by the Janaway family.Farming has been running through the family's veins for four generations. Starting with George Janaway and his wife Annie back in 1918, the family has grown to see George's son Jack and his wife Brenda have two sons Richard and David who, through hard work and determination, have watched their family's farm grow and develop in to what can be seen today. David and his wife Judy along with their children Emma and Robbie and their partners Ian and Abby now run Newlyns Farm Shop with each of them putting their all in to maintaining and expanding the business. Since joining the family business eight years ago, Abby Janaway has helped to start up the new cookery school that now takes pride of place above the farm shop: "This was really the next progression for us. We wanted to set up an educational centre for anybody wanting to know more about the produce from the farm and how to get the best out of it."George Janaway was a great believer in hard work and from a young age his children were expected to muck in, the boys on the farm, and the girls selling the produce in the stores. This tradition is very much a main part of the business today. Robbie Janaway has been working with his father since he was a boy and together with his brother in law Ian, has helped to run the farming side of the business: "Being here for as long as we have means that we have built up a good reputation among the local people, working as a family has meant maintaining our forefathers age old traditions." His sister Emma and mother Judy run the farm shop and, together with Abby, they also help to run the cafe: "The shop works as the perfect outlet for our livestock; we used to do a pick our own before starting up the shop but now we feel our products are more accessible to our customers." Working as a family seems to be the key to success for the Janaway's and with four grandchildren ready and eager to help out, it seems that Newlyns has a long and profitable future. Names: Justyn Davies, Sarah Davies, Rupert DaviesCompany: Bradbeers Department Stores, New Milton & RomseyEstablished: 1837Many people may have been to Bradbeers in New Milton for a touch of old fashioned class, but take a trip to Romsey and you will see the future of the company.Moving on from the days of Are You Being Served Justyn Davies, together with his sister Sarah and older brother Rupert have transformed their family business to ensure that the next 170 years will be just as successful.

Bradbeers experienced a disastrous setback after it was hit by a bomb during the blitz, which completely destroyed the site

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The original store was opened by a Mr R.S. Smith in Bernard Street, Southampton and ran for 50 years until his death in 1887, throughout this time the name of the store changed to reflect his partners. In 1865 the business became Smith, Bumpstead and Tripe before changing to Smith, Brookman and Lewis in 1834. After his death Mr Lewis became the manager and changed the name again to Smith and Lewis until his retirement in 1892, by which time Mr Bradbeer became involved in the business and the name has remained ever since. Mr Bradbeer remained a batchelor and so upon his death, left the store to his employees, Mr Saunders and Mr Gwilym Davies who took over the running in 1932. On November 23, 1940, Bradbeers experienced a disastrous setback after it was hit by a bomb during the blitz, which completely destroyed the site. The partners took it in their stride however and within two weeks had the company up and running again, this time from sites in Shirley and New Milton. After the war two sites remained in New Milton and Romsey with the company owning several other lease sites around Hampshire. When Gwilym Davies died in 1969 the business was left to his sons Anthony, Peter and Trevor with Anthony and Peter deciding to go in to partnership. Anthony's son Justyn came in to the company in 1997: "I came to work for my dad when I was 18, we actually only worked together for four years before he retired but in the time that we did spend he was a great mentor who helped me to understand the business, where it had been and what the possibilities were for the future."At the same time the company expanded again to incorporate a removal service and rental in Romsey and a furniture store in Old Milton Road, New Milton, with Justyn and his family preparing for big plans to renovate their New Milton store in the near future. Names: Jack, Danny and Gretal Habel Company: Habels Furniture Stores, Winchester & AndoverEstablished: 1945A famous landmark in Winchester and Andover, Habels Furniture Store prides itself on its quality furniture and friendly service and with over 60 years of experience it's fair to say that this is something that has been honed to perfection. Gretal and Jack Habel came to Hampshire during the war as German refugees where they worked on several farms within the area. Jack had been working as an upholsterer in Berlin and as the war came to an end he was able to pick up his trade once again by deciding to become his own boss and setting up the store in Winchester.Their son Danny joined the company in 1978 after being brought up alongside the store with the intention of him one day taking over from his parents: "When I was young and having big ideas of conquering the world, running a furniture store was the last thing I wanted to do, but actually once I started working there I started to enjoy it and found I could be quite creative with it."Danny started to become more involved in the running of the business during his 20s when his mother fell seriously ill and his father was spending more time at home to care for her. When his father retired Danny celebrated his new role by opening up another store in Andover: "I wanted to put my own personality in to the business by moving it more in my own direction while still keeping the basis of the business going. Andover was a good area to move to as it remained within travelling distance to Winchester and the store that we purchased used to be Ponds so it was already a well known furniture shop."Working as a family business in Andover after taking over from Ponds went in good favour for Danny; concerned with winning over the local people he paid specific attention to his father's ideals of good staffing and customer service and used that as a basis for his new store: "It's been important for me throughout the running of my business to make sure that I have kept the family values of service and quality. Being a good employer and getting on well with my staff has been another major part of our success."

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