For many, the old adage “blood and business do not mix” is one worth heeding. Business is already a minefield and adding family to the mix can complicate things even further, but for some Norman business owners, it has been a recipe for prolonged success.
That has been the case for mother-daughter duo Dr. Beverly Fritzler and Breawna Fritzler, of Rose Rock Veterinary Hospital & Pet Resort, 400 24th Ave. NW.
Veterinarian and mother Beverly has owned the business since 1990, and Breawna, a graduate of the University of Oklahoma’s administrative leadership program who became executive director in 2009, has been there pretty much since the beginning, from the time she was cleaning kennels.
“It’s perfect,” Beverly said. “I feel like I am the luckiest mom out there, to be able to work with my children and be with my grandchild, yet do what I love in business. So, I’ve got the best of all worlds.
“We have the same vision for the business, which is making sure that every pet gets premium pet care. We’ve worked on that together.”
Working together with family has meant an added layer of trust, and, also an added layer of expectation. In addition to her daughter, Beverly’s son and daughter-in-law work as veterinarians at the practice. Beverly said professionalism and honest feedback have been cornerstones of her family’s tight-knit working relationship.
“When we’re at work, we’re at work,” she said. “As doctors, my son and daughter-in-law, we try to make sure they’re treated the same as any other doctor. We all try to handle it in a professional way. I’m not ‘mom’ here, I’m Dr. Bev here, with everybody.”
Breawna said she and her mother complement each other well. While there are challenges, she said the pros have far outweighed any cons.
“We work together really well, because we have the same vision and the same goals,” Breawna said.
Getting to spend more meaningful time with family is an obvious benefit, but they also are building a legacy together.
“I hope [my family] does take it over some day and it can remain a privately owned veterinary hospital, because the new trend is toward corporate-owned veterinary hospitals and that’s not really what I want for our clients or patients,” Beverly said. “I want it to be carried forward.”
In a different business environment, another mother-daughter team is finding similar success in Norman.
Mother Susan Potts and daughter Paige Beall co-own two stores on Campus Corner — Tulips, 570 Buchanan Ave., and Tiny Tulips, 578 Buchanan Ave.
After nearly 12 years in business, Potts sold Occasions, 2001 W. Main St., about two years ago. She opened Tulips on Campus Corner about five years ago, with her daughter handling operations there for the first three years.
Eventually they became partners.
“I didn’t feel like it was fair to my other kids to buy her a store,” Potts said. “So, I purchased the store and she worked there until I was paid back the original investment and then we became partners. She worked really hard and earned it.”
It was a long time coming for Beall, who had grown up working at Occasions. After graduating with a degree in marketing and management from OU, she decided she didn’t want to live the cubicle life and when the chance to work with mom again came up she took it.
Looking back, she said, she could have only dreamed that this is what she would be doing.
“I feel so blessed to be working with family,” she said. “My mom and I are really good partners. We’re both good at telling each other what we think and we both have great ideas and bounce them off of each other to come to the best conclusion.”
Another plus, she said, is that her mother can be grandma at work, too.
“She can come and take care of [my four-month-old son] Ben sometimes so I can take care of customers and be more productive,” she said, noting that Ben is a popular fixture at Tulips, a wedding registry hub and boutique gift store, and at Tiny Tulips, which focuses on baby-related items and gifts.
Beall said her mother is a great mentor because she has been in the business for so long. Potts said the same of her daughter.
“In the beginning, I kind of mentored her,” Potts said. “We were talking to each other back and forth because I was at one store and she was at the other. Since I sold [Occasions], I’ve been able to spend more time with her at Tulips. What’s kind of cool is now she kind of mentors me because she’s grabbed ahold of everything … She runs some things by me, but it’s neat to see how she’s pretty much taken over. Now, I get to go to work for her.
“It’s such a blessing. We have a lot of fun together.”
Beall said trust and communication have been keys to their success. It doesn’t hurt that they’re both hard workers, she said, but it comes back to communication.
While every situation is different, she did have some advice to offer moms and daughters who might be thinking of drawing up a business plan together.
“Make sure you are OK with having conflict and being able to work through it,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine being able to work together if either of us were too sensitive. I don’t think it would go as smoothly as it does. Be understanding of what you’re saying to each other and that it’s coming from a place of love and wanting what’s best for [the] team and for [the business]. Make sure you have the relationship that you can put up with each other all the time.”