Hard on the heels of my story about the centennial of Oberto Brands last month came some bittersweet news. The Oberto family is thinking about selling the jerky juggernaut.
The sweet part is that the family appears to be acting on their terms and not because they have no choice.
The not-so-sweet part — at least for me — is the possible loss of one more family business to corporate ownership.
Longtime family businesses like Oberto — founded in Seattle in 1918 and now based in Kent — are local treasures. Their unique and refreshing ways of doing business reflect the quirks of their founders and the character of the communities where they’re rooted.
I was disappointed the timing wasn’t right for me to interview Oberto Brands patriarch Art Oberto for my story in the Puget Sound Business Journal, but the Seattle Times published this terrific profile a number of years back. To read my story, click on Story Links in the menu bar above and look under Business.
I broke into community journalism when the school beat was the backbone of the newspaper. Schools were — and remain — a fountain of news and features that everyone can relate to whether we’re interested in test scores or football scores, tax rates or technology. In my past life as a community newspaper reporter and editor, I covered two suburban Seattle school districts, Highline and Federal Way. I can’t say that I miss attending marathon school board meetings, but I knew I was doing important work as the eyes and ears of the community – a watchdog role that is sadly disappearing as newspapers cut staff to stay afloat.
But covering meetings was just one part of the job. The best part was going into schools to write about classroom successes and challenges. Schools are exciting places to visit. Sure, you see some things that make you scratch your head, but you also see things that impress and inspire. That’s why I’m happy about a recent opportunity to write online features for the Tacoma School District – my present hometown school district. Here are a couple of links: