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Joe Turner is the second generation in the family business started father Henry more than 40 years ago. Beginning as an agricultural distributor, it now specialises in furniture distribution. Several family members work alongside Joe—his wife Sheila is a director, son Graham drives and manages the fleet, Graham's wife Margaret is office manager and Joe's nephew Stephen Murphy is a fitter. Joe admits that a family working together can have its problems,
"They throw things at you if they don't agi ee," he jokes, adding, "you have to work hard to make it work."
He reckons its important that each family member has a specific task: "You have to leave everyone alone to do their own job, although you all lean on each other at times," he says.
Flexibility is importanr. if Joe is out Graham comes into the office and Joe admits that Graham is being groomed for eventual succession: "I am trying to push more on to him." He wants the business to be in a healthier state than when he took over from his father: "My dad never took an interest in administration—he left it to my mother and that's where things sometimes fell down. If you don't get the money in, you're wasting your time."
If differences of opinion do arise within the family the final word rests with Joe, but as Graham, now 32, gets older his opinion has become more highly valued. "The only thing you can't pass on," says Joe, "is experience."