Area fathers keep businesses running with children#8217;s help

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 29, 2006

The first duty Tim Forth’s dad ever gave him at the family’s grocery store was to sort returnable pop bottles.

It wasn’t a huge responsibility, but nevertheless, it opened the door to what would be a life-long business relationship between the two.

More than three decades later, Tim and Charlie Forth have worked together to build their grocery business into one of the most successful in the area. The Forth’s own 12 Food Fair grocery stores in the Tri-State, including the ones in South Point, Proctorville and Coal Grove.

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“I guess you could say I really grew up in a grocery store,” Tim Forth said.

“There is not a job in a grocery store that I have not done.”

His dad agreed.

“He (was) around it all the time,” Charlie Forth said of his only child. “We have always been inseparable,” he said.

Forth and his son get along very well, he said, which is one of the keys to the grocery stores’ success.

Forth said both support each other and are there for each other when there are trying times.

“We just don’t have any trouble,” he said. “At first, I was ‘totally dad, totally boss,’ but now we’re going through a transition. He’s blended right in there as he’s gotten older,” Forth said.

Hall Funeral Home

Having one child in the business may be cozy, but what about two or more?

Ernest “Ernie” Hall Jr. says most days it can get a little crazy at Hall Funeral Home in Proctorville. There are funerals to plan, paperwork to be done, families to console, but the long-time funeral director says his three children help to keep things running smoothly.

Those children, Ernie III, 32, Ericca, 28, and Evan, 26, are all licensed funeral directors and now are continuing the family’s legacy.

Their mother, Clorinda, is also a licensed funeral director.

“I think the boys knew all along that they were going to do this,” said Ericca Hall-Workman. “But, I wasn’t really sure.”

Hall-Workman actually graduated from nursing school and then decided that her true calling was in the family business. Her brothers, on the other hand, both went to the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science and are licensed embalmers.

“I told him (Hall Jr.) that I should’ve done this all along,” she said with a laugh.

Although having the whole family working so closely together would seem a little uncomfortable to some people, Hall said his kids always toe the line, at least when he’s around.

“The kids respect me,” he said. “Anytime we have a disagreement, we just walk away. Actually, it’s a blessing that we are all together. It’s great that the kids got to stay here locally.”

The only drawback is that at one family member has to be at the funeral home at all times. In other words, no family vacations or get togethers.

The Hall children are actually the third generation to be in the business.

Their father had the business handed down to him from his father, Ernest Sr., in 1969. The business was founded in 1932.

Hall said the funeral home could be going through some changes in the near future, although he hopes that they will all be family-related.

Hall has four young granddaughters, he boasted, with another grandchild on the way.

“It looks like we may be an all-female staff someday,” he said, jokingly. “But, hey, that would be great. … More and more women are getting in the business.”

Dave’s Cars and Dave’s Tire City

At Dave’s Cars and Dave’s Tire City in Chesapeake, dealing with cars and the problems associated with them is also a family affair. Dave Goodall and his two sons, Victor and Curt, have worked together for more than two decades.

Victor’s wife, Mary, works as the secretary and bookkeeper.

“We really get along better than you would think,” Dave Goodall said. “I guess we are kind of an unusual family because we really don’t have any problems.”

He said the family “gets in there and gets it done,” and if somebody messes up, then the issue is resolved.

“If it’s not going right, we don’t quarrel about it. We just get it taken care of,”

Goodall said.

Mary Goodall said working with her in-laws is actually a wonderful experience because everybody can say what’s on their minds and air out their differences.

She said the family also can cover for each other in case the others have to be off work for some reason.

“Your family is much more understanding, I think. You can take off and do things and it’s not a big deal,” she said.