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Generation next: passing on the family business

Growth is on the horizon as Gordon's Window D cor, a local family business that has been manufacturing custom window treatments in Essex Junction for 25 years. The firm's ownership is making the transition to the next generation. The company serves many customers in Addison and Rutland counties.

"I think our growth is due to the fact that we manufacture insulating window shades that save energy-a vital component in our country's efforts to cut our dependence on fossil fuels," said Gordon Clements, owner of Gordon's Window D cor.

With distribution established in Ireland, as well as across the U.S., similar interest from Russia and recent sales in Japan, Gordon's has been hiring and just bought a larger factory and showroom in Williston. The firm will be moving at the end of March. That is a lot of change for any company, especially combined with serious succession planning.

"It is all really exciting," said Kelly Conklin, Clements' daughter and successor. "Buying the new building was a huge step, but we are bursting at the seams in our current building and with our growth we need more space. The succession planning is equally as exciting. We've been working with the Vermont Family Business Initiative to help with the planning."

Transitioning a business from the first generation to the second generation is no easy feat. But Clements and Conklin have been working to avoid common pitfalls of succession; with resources like the Vermont Family Business Initiative it looks like Gordon's Window D cor will be going strong for another 25 years.

"My first child, Silas, was born in August . If all goes well I hope that he'll be the third generation to run Gordon's," said Conklin.

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