I was once told by a business adviser that when entering in business with a partner, you better know everything about your partner, because you will be “sleeping with your partner”. Rereading this statement, I think he stated it much more clearly and concisely, but the point is things are about to get really intimate with you and your partner, so you better know them inside and out, have a similar vision, and be able to work together well.
Inevitably lots of times these business partnerships do not always work out for one reason or another. But wouldn’t you love to know why? What happened? What are the grievances? Well I have compiled a short list of businesses in West Michigan which were started by two partners (in most cases or families) and now they have split up and each partner is doing their own thing, most often in the exact same line of business as the one they worked with their partner in. Awkward!
New Holland Brewing Company was started by two friends (grew up together in Midland, and both attended Hope College) Brett VanderKamp and Jason Spaulding in 1996. Spaulding sold his shares in NewHolland in 2008. The only reason I could find on why he sold his shares was to “focus on economic development work with Lakeshore Advantage.”, where he worked as Vice President of Business Services. After his stint at Lakeshore Advantage, Spaulding attended a brewing school in Munich, Germany and after that we worked as a bar manager at Zingerman’s Roadhouse. Now just two years later, Brewery Vivant, a Spaulding creation at 925 Cherry Street SE Grand Rapids, MI has a scheduled opening of December 2010. Could it be a non-compete agreement has expired? Luckily to avoid some of the awkwardness, the breweries are located in different cities. And what is up with Rooster logo – I like roosters (here & here) as much as the next guy but roosters are like this year’s “it” corporate animal. I would what will be next – perhaps the stately Goat.
In 1997, Mark Herman and Mike Karas became co-owners of Crazy Horse Steakhouse & Saloon in Holland, MI. After 12 years of ownership Karas sold his share in the restaurant to Herman, in 2009. Then in summer of 2010 Karas opened up Salt & Pepper Savory Grill & Pub at 11539 E. Lakewood Blvd in Holland. Of course Karas declined to provide any details on why he sold his ownership in Crazy Horse, and he had the following quote from the mlive article on his new restaurant “I think he wishes me well. I wish him well” regarding Herman. It is not hard to read between the lines and assume that there might be some bad blood there, either that or someone is taking the high road. Not surprisingly Karas got right back into restaurant business by opening up his new place just about a mile away on the same street as Crazy Horse.
Yes this is the second time I have mentioned these companies in my blog, and yes I am just as surprised as you are. Both these companies produce transplanting equipment for the agriculture industry are both are located in Holland. Holland Transplanter was founded in 1927 and Mechanical was founded in 1953. From what I gathered, the current owner, and descendant of one of the founders of Holland Transplanter, has a brother-in-law who runs Mechanical Transplanter. Those family get togethers must be quite interesting. This is almost as bad as it can get. Not only is the company a direct competitor, but they are in the same city, and they are in your family as well.
Alright I am having a hard time nailing this one down, but here is what I know (I did get an update from Chuck who is involved with Wild Dog- see comments below). Laine Mossey founders set up the Dog Rescue operation in Saugatuck and also ran a dog shop in the area. The original name was Wild Dog Rescue, which was later changed to Wishbone Pet Rescue. The Wishbone Pet Rescue was involved in the very unfortunate Chance story. The dog was savagely beaten, poisoned, and hung to die, fortunately the dog survived and was left in the care of Wishbone. At some point during this process Laine (the president) brought on a board of directors to help out with the pet rescue portion of the business. But apparently there was a difference in philosophy between the president, who wanted to solely rescue pets and the board, who wanted to help the Allegan County Animal shelter. Now there are two Dog Rescue organizations in Saugatuck area, Wild Dog Rescue (which also runs the Wild Dogs store, and a kennel called Mossey Hollow) and Wishbone Pet Rescue.
One more side note I found this website – http://wilddogsaugatuck.com/ which looks like it was started by the owner Wild Dog, the rescue and pet store, and their issue with the Douglas restaurant called Wild Dog Grille. Though I think they can choose to name their restaurant the same name, since they are not in the same industry, but it still smacks of poor taste to take on the same name especially in a small community like Saugatuck/Douglas.
Drive down M-89 in Fennville and inevitably you will come across a stretch of road with orchards on both sides of the road, and with signs on both sides talking about Crane’s U Pick Orchards. Well although they share the same name (kind of) they are not the same. In fact ask anyone working at either place and they will definitely tell you they are not associated with the other. I wonder what happened. First here are the players – The Gary Crane U-Pick Farm or “Crane’s U-Pick”at 6017 124th Ave is on the North side of the street, and can be recognized with their large white barn. Cranes Orchards is located on the South side of the street at 6054 124th Ave, is highlighted by the large red Crane’s restaurant. Interestingly enough both Gary Crane UPick and Crane Orchards offer a detailed history of the family and the two farms. Here is Gary Crane UPick version and here is Crane Orchards version. I am not going to dig into this one too much because it hurts my head but it looks like the grandsons of the original founders, ended up going out on their own and operating their own farms in 1985.
Special Case: Adidas & Puma
Some of these stories are eerily similar to the Puma and Adidas story. The Dassler brothers (Adi and Rudolf) who founded the original company, eventually split up and created separate companies in Puma and Adidas. Now both companies are located in the same small German village of Herzogenaurach. Raise your hand if you knew that Puma and Adidas were founded by two brothers, and if you did, let me know and next time I see you, I owe you a high five.
Apparently these individuals were not too please at having to go to bed with their partners. Does anyone have any more examples of schisms with business partners? At risk of sounding very tabloid-esque or gossipy… does anyone have any details on what caused these above splits? Inquiring minds want to know.