Saturday, February 7, 2009

"Working Couples" Feature Article in February Chevy Chaser

Working Couples
Lexington, KY - More than 1.2 million small businesses in America are operated by a husband- and wife-duo, according to the National Federation of Independent Business. For many, that may seem like a business plan for disaster or divorce, but an entrepreneurial spirit shared with someone you love and respect is also a can also be an appealing aspect for many couples.

We asked some working couples to share some of their experiences with our readers. Their approaches to keeping business at the office (which is the garage or converted bedroom for some) and their personal lives at home is quite dynamic, but all of them seem to genuinely enjoy being able to spend more time with the ones they love.

The Drury's


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Mike and Letha Drury are the owners and operators of South Hill Gallery, an art and custom framing shop located at 600 S. Broadway (soon to be moving to 1401 Versailles Rd.).

What do you like most about being able to work with your loved one?

She said: "One of the best things about working with your spouse is having a shared passion for your business. Mike and I own a small business that we are continually trying to grow and expand. The creative synergy or working on a shared goal is pretty cool."

He said: "The most evident aspect is convenience. We live in Versailles, so we can ride to work together and our schedule is the same, which is very convenient."

What's least appealing about working with your loved one?

He said: "When we leave the gallery at the end of the day, there is not a lot to talk about. 'How was your day at work,' is a question that we rarely ask each other because we know how it was."

She said: "We find at the end of the work day, we often retreat to our neutral corners to have some personal time. We also try to find ways to keep our separate interests and friendships going."

How do you deal with conflicts that erupt between each other? Are these matters handled differently than they would be with other people?

She said: "It is certainly one of the pitfalls of working with a spouse. It is human nature to react to a spouse differently than an employee ... As we work in a small shop with two other employees, we don't want the tension from a disagreement to spill over into our work."

He said: "You should ask our assistants this question and you would probably hear that our 'discussions' from time to time create tension. ... I guess you could say we are pretty hard on each other at times. I am probably harder on Letha when a crisis arises but when the dust settles we usually resolve any issues with a favorable outcome.

How does your relationship differ from the office to home?

He said: "We are a great team whether at home or at work. ... If we had full-time careers that were different and stressful, I am sure that would carry over into our relationship at home, and that would be unfortunate."

She said: "I think our relationship is very similar both at work and at home – our work is a big part of our lives and I think treating each other with the same respect 24/7 makes things flow more smoothly."

Any advice to other couples who are considering working with each other, or already work with each other?

She said: "I think it is very critical for working couples to settle the need for control, as that can be a real source of tension. Having clear boundaries at work makes for better harmony for everyone involved – both at home and at work."

He said: "To quote a great song, 'everybody needs a little time away' is great advice. We are still individuals with different interests and it is healthy to enjoy those from time to time without each other."


The Lundys


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Jonathan and Cara Lundy are the owners and operators of Jonathan's at Gratz Park, a restaurant located at 120 W. 2nd St.

What do you like most about being able to work with your loved one?

She said: "The thing I like most about working with Jonathan is getting to try all of his delicious dishes."




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He said: "Sometimes when I arrive to work, with her eyes glowing, (she) says, 'Well, hello Jonathan Lundy.'"

What's least appealing about working with your loved one?

He said: "When I screw up and disappoint her."

She said: "It's harder to leave things at the office, so to speak."

How do you deal with conflicts that erupt between each other? Are these matters handled differently than they would be with other people?

She said: "I am definitely more comfortable with Jonathan and probably hold back less than I do with others."

He said: "Most work conflicts and stress tend to place Cara and I on the same side. But when we are upset with one another, the conflict does not last long. Thankfully the restaurant offers plenty of room for us to give each other space.

How does your relationship differ from the office to home?

He said: "I don't really think that the relationship changes from work to home. We both approach every day as to what we have to contribute to our household, personal relationship and to our children."

She said: "It isn't that different, except we're not as affectionate at work."

Any advice to other couples who are considering working with each other, or already work with each other?

She said: "It is important for you both to have the same goals."

He said: "Practice listening, compromising, apologizing and forgiving."

The Turners


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Brian and Sara Turner are the husband and wife team behind Cricket Press, which designs hand prints a very wide assortment of printing needs. For more, visit their Web site at http://www.cricket-press.com/.

What do you like most about being able to work with your loved one?

She said: "Brian respects my passion to make art ... even when it takes over evenings and weekends. It's comforting (and sometimes extremely helpful) to have him available to answer questions or offer opinions on what I'm creating, and have him know what he's talking about. It's just deeply satisfying to share what you love to do with the one you love."

He said: "Working with Sara just makes everything so much more fun, and less like actual work. Even when I get stressed out about the amount of work we have to do, or how soon we have to get it done, which happens a lot, actually, it is nice to have Sara here with me to ease the tension. We can laugh and joke about things; basically distract one another from whatever stresses we are feeling."

What's least appealing about working with your loved one?

He said: "There are times when Sara's productivity seems to run circles around my own, and when that happens it can really affect me on a creative level ... It doesn't happen a lot, but when it does it can be frustrating on a personal level because it leaves me asking myself, 'Why can't it be that easy for me? Something must be wrong with my creative process!"

She said: "Sharing workspaces. Brian and I are both control freaks (that's why we can't collaborate on jobs), and sometimes when work areas or tools or materials aren't left the way we personally want them, it can be frustrating. But these are the problems all couples deal with."

How do you deal with conflicts that erupt between each other?

She said: "I'm always harder on a loved one. I'm not brutally honest with everyone and sometimes it's more productive to be brutally honest. But if that leads to an argument, I know it will work out and apologies will be made...eventually."

He said: "We just try to not let any conflicts go on for very long. I think we're both very affected by the thought of being mad at each other, or strongly disagreeing on something to the point that it causes tension, so we try not to let that happen."

How does your relationship differ from the office to home?

He said: "Well, since our office is our home, I can't say that it differs much at all. We react to each other in the same ways when we are making dinner as we would if we were working on a big project together."

She said: "It doesn't differ…at all."

Any advice to other couples who are considering working with each other, or already work with each other?

She said: "Mutual respect is key. Appreciate your spouse or partner for they do, what they think ... and how they spend their time."

He said: "Even before we were married, I referred to our relationship as a 'team'; good friends who are on a team together. No matter what you are dealing with, you have to look at the relationship that way because one person can't be pulling all the weight. Each member of the team has to be committed to making the relationship work, and that sentiment applies to marriages as well as working relationships."


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1 comment:

Leah said...

That was a great article! I loved your responses..they were great...especially the "control" answer...Love ya, Leah

South Hill Gallery, Ltd.

South Hill Gallery, Ltd.
Art and Custom Framing since 1977