Finalists and Semifinalists, Revenue Up To $10 Million

Take a look at these stupendous family owned businesses, who earned up to $10 million last year.

FINALIST
Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant
Since opening in 2003, Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant in Montclair has done its part to expand the frontiers of dining in New Jersey. In the Ethiopian tradition, food is served family style. It arrives with a large round sheet of injera, a crepe-like sourdough flatbread that functions as both plate and utensil. Much to the delight of children, eating with the hands is encouraged. You use the injera to scoop up the stew-like courses.

Mesob is the creation of sisters Berekti and Akberet Mengistu. Berekti fled Ethiopia for America in 1982, settling in Somerset County with one of her nine siblings. Sister Akberet joined her in 1999. Coming from a large family, the sisters were accustomed to cooking for a crowd, so starting a restaurant did not seem a stretch. They opened Mesob in 2003 with volunteer help from “nieces, nephews, cousins, children, brothers and sisters,” says Berekti. Decorating the Montclair space with Ethiopian art, they devised a homey atmosphere in harmony with their traditional cooking.

The sisters have become part of the Montclair community, annually supporting the Montclair International Film Festival, the Rotary Club and other local institutions. “This is a diversified and open community,” says Berekti. “You can do anything in Montclair and people are open enough to discover and try.”

SEMIFINALISTS
McRae Capital Management
Despite Rodrick “Rod” McRae’s suggestion that his children find their own career paths, sons Roddy III, 48, and Peter, 40, followed their father’s lead. Roddy and Peter, who joined the firm in 1996 and 2004 respectively, say it was the best professional decision that they ever made. Founded in 1981 in Morristown, McRae Capital Management offers clients long-term financial advice with a personal touch. Rod, 75, remains the company’s president.

Things 4 Strings
It takes confidence to start a business during a recession, but cello teacher Martha Brons and her daughter Ruth, a violin instructor, believed in their vision. In 2008, they launched Livingston-based Things 4 Strings to make and market CelloPhant, a device that aids proper hand positioning on string instruments. Today, the product—which comes in fun shapes like elephants and fish—is used around the world. Things 4 Strings supports the Paterson Music Project and other music-related organizations. Ruth’s daughter, Rozie Dumas—a music student at Montclair State University—hopes to one day join the business.

Flynn & Son Funeral Home

James J. Flynn Sr. started his first funeral home in 1900. The family now includes four generations and runs three funeral homes (Edison, Perth Amboy and Metuchen). Coast Guard-trained Brendan J. Flynn Sr., the founder’s grandson, is at the company’s helm. He also runs Ashes Out to Sea, a service for scattering cremated remains. The family hosts the annual Memorial Tree Lighting in Metuchen. If history repeats itself, Brendan Sr.’s son, Brendan Jr., and nephew James J. “Jay” Flynn IV will join the business.

Bornstein Sons, Inc.

After Hurricane Sandy, Bonnie Bornstein and her husband, Richard Fertel, sprang into action. Bornstein Sons Inc., their Fairfield heating and plumbing business, is near the flood-prone Passaic River. They pitched in for new heating installations for four local families, free of charge. Commitment to the community has helped sustain Bornstein & Sons since 1928. Three generations of the family are now in the business, which supports local fundraisers and donates annually to breast cancer research in commemoration of Bonnie’s two victories over the disease.

G&G Realtors

At a time when many realtors work for national chains, Oakhurst-based G&G Realtors remains an independent family business. Opened in 1967 by Irwin and Nancy Gerechoff, the business spans three generations and serves much of Monmouth County. G&G has developed a business approach it calls Generational Matching—connecting buyers with a generation-appropriate agent in the G&G family. It’s a policy that reflects G&G’s long-term community interest and commitment.

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