2016 Family Business Awards: The List

The winners of Seattle Business magazine's annual celebration of outstanding family businesses.

When you get right down to it, a family business will always be a mom-and-pop operation. Regardless of annual revenues or employee counts, every successful family business owner harks back to the people who started the enterprise, ever mindful of the original mission while fully aware of the difficulties that make perpetuation of the family legacy a constant challenge. This year, Seattle Business magazine celebrates 12 businesses that are navigating this road with energy, enthusiasm and creative aplomb.

Congratulations to the recipients of Seattle Business magazine's 2016 Family Business Awards!

Heritage/Legacy Award
Bartell Drugs, Seattle

Family Business of the Year, Small Firms
Gold Award: Fitterer's Inc., Ellensburg
Silver Award: Plemmons Industries, Kent
Silver Award: Morpac Industries, Pacific

Family Business of the Year, Midsize Firms
Gold Award: Decagon Devices, Pullman
Silver Award: State Roofing, Monroe
Silver Award: Nakanishi Dental Laboratory, Bellevue

Family Business of the Year, Large Firms
Gold Award: R.D. Merrill Co., Seattle
Silver Award: Peninsula Truck Lines, Federal Way

Business Innovation
Gold Award: Baden Sports, Renton

Business Transition
Gold Award: Continental Mills, Tukwila

Business Growth
Gold Award: Bellmont Cabinet Company, Sumner


Judges for the 2016 Family Business Awards

Clarence Barnes, professor of Economics, Gonzaga University
Ron Dohr, co-director, Pacific Family Business Institute  
Loren Lyon, president, Impact Washington
Catherine Pratt, management faculty, Pacific Lutheran University
Martha Sandoval, partner, Perkins Coie  
Christian Schiller, managing director, Cascadia Capital
Rich Simmonds, cofounder, Pacific Family Business Institute     
David Stiefel, managing principal, Bader Martin
Joseph Williams, ICT Industry sector lead and economic development director, state of Washington

2016 Community Impact Awards: Growth

2016 Community Impact Awards: Growth

Gold: Bellmont Cabinet Company

Bellmont Cabinet Company
Location: Sumner

Bellmont Cabinet set a new course after 2009, when annual revenue plunged to $12.6 million, less than half of what it had been the year before. A strategy to bring affordable, contemporary, frameless Eurostyle cabinets to market worked, helping the company’s revenues soar to $60 million by 2015. President Steve Bell regrouped with two sons, Casey, 36, now COO, and Tyler, 34, vice president of sales and marketing, as well as then-accounting manager Nick Johnson, 36, now CFO. “I told them, ‘We’ll just have to rebuild this company together,’” recalls Bell. Bellmont lost money in 2010 but broke even in 2011. By 2012, profits were climbing again. This year’s revenues are up another 12 to 13 percent. Compared to a low of 85 workers, Bellmont now has 306 employees. Its cabinet style is now trendy, says Bell, and competitors took notice by creating and stocking similar products. So Bellmont is notching it up, investing $5 million in new technology. By 2017, those capital expenditures will reach $7.5 million to continue making affordable, high-quality products. Bell notes that his wife, Carolyn, has been a core contributor, and that the family is transferring stock to the second generation. Daughter Loreen Bell Hernandez, 40, manages the charitable family foundation. Bell says his sons continued to share responsibility in the business, adding, “We’ve been willing to take the risks.”