Chris Hornbecker

Once a week, Andrew Lethin and Beth Rhoades meet for an hour to discuss everything from personal issues to goals and culture in their Salem, Ore.-based, third generation family business, C&R Remodeling.

It's a routine the sister and brother team adopted two years ago as part of a transition plan for the company. Founded in 1960 by their grandfather, Ron, and their great uncle, Cal, C&R was passed down to their father, Doug Lethin, in the mid-1980s before a third shift of shares to Lethin, Rhoades, and their two younger siblings in 2016.

"When our dad and grandfather went through the first transition, there were heated moments and frustrations and a lack of communication and documentation that we as kids remembered, and so going into it ourselves, it was important to have those conversations and keep things documented in a way everyone understood," explains Rhoades.

The conversations play a major role in the business's more recent success. Five years before they took over operations, their father made a point to openly communicate to the team that a transition was happening, so he could pave the way for his children to effectively lead.

"Gray areas don't work well in family business," echoes Lethin. "It can lead to conflict."

The two have worked hard to overcome family challenges. Thanks to advice received during a semi-annual Remodelers Advantage meeting, they hired a family-business counselor and have been following this healthy approach for the last two years.

As part of a new direction for the company, they have implemented a number of changes to help the business grow. In addition to the meetings, they created an executive team and established a vision and mission statement. What's more, by adopting technology and modern business practices, they have lowered costs and improved the overall employee and customer experience.

"In 2007, we were doing about the same volume with twice as many staff, and by creating schedules and working with technology, we can run a leaner staff," Rhoades says.