May 15, 2017

WBJ announces Family Business Awards finalists

A handful of restaurants along Shrewsbury Street – where Worcester Business Journal has its offices – have started selling Fat Tire Amber Ale, a cult beer made by the New Belgium Brewery Co. from Colorado.

When I first noticed this, I was perplexed as it was largely a regional beer sold outside New England, and I really only knew the beer because of its role in a critical plot point in the TV show "Breaking Bad." Regardless, good craft beers are expanding throughout the U.S., so I was more than happy that New Belgium made its way to Worcester, and I have since been able to enjoy a handful of Fat Tire pints since it started being promoted on Shrewsbury Street.

Little did I know this Fat Tire expansion was the work of Auburn beverage distributor Atlas Distributing, Inc., a second-generation family business run by the Saloises. Turns out Atlas also just started distributing beers from the Yuengling Brewery (if you are from or know anyone from Pennsylvania, you will understand the fiery passion a slice of the population has for Yuengling) and represents up-and-coming local brewers like Spencer Trappist Brewery and Greater Good Imperial Brewing Co. of Williamsburg.

Basically, every aspect of our lives (from food to roads to 401(k)s to television programs) are brought to us by businesses, but when goods and services are brought to us by family businesses, it means something a little more. More than just a handful of executives and employees bound by blood and marriage running a company or a nonprofit, true family businesses infuse their operations with the collective values and personalities of their families. I couldn't tell you if the Saloises at Atlas are all big fans of craft beer (like I am), but it is a company that has grown its workforce 32 percent, handed out 26 promotions in the last two years and supports organizations like United Way, Nichols College and Leadership Worcester.

You will find these traits carry over to all the finalists for WBJ's Family Business Awards: Putts & More Family Fun Center in Holliston was founded by the Giammarinaroes to give people with special needs a place to work; Provo Financial Services Inc. in Shrewsbury uses its financial expertise to help community pillars, like Becker College; William Antonelli and Sarah Christie-Antonelli sold Monster Movers in Worcester 13 years ago only to buy it back in 2010 and turn it into one of the 20 fastest growing transportation firms in the U.S. All nine finalists have amazing stories to tell.

As we honor the finalists, we invite you to come out to our Family Business Awards event May 24 at Cyprian Keyes Golf Club in Boylston, where we will announce the winners of the four categories (new, small, midsize and large businesses) and hand out a couple of extra honors for finalists who have shown particular aptitude for family values and innovation.

- Brad Kane, editor

Read about the nine Family Business Awards honorees

Finalists: New Family Business Award

Finalists: Small Family Business Award

Finalists: Midsize Family Business Award

Finalists: Large Family Business Award


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