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Family Bond Is The Secret To Success For Mother/Son Chappaqua Businesss

Barb Kobren and son, Adam, run bobbysue's nuts! in Chappaqua. Photo Credit: Andrea Graziano
Barb Kobren with son, Adam, way back when. Photo Credit: Submitted

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- There's one thread that weaves throughout the story of Chappaqua-based bobbysue's nuts! and that is "No one has your back or front like family."

So explained Barb "bobbysue" Kobren, founder/chairman of the business she runs with her son, Adam Kobren, who serves as the company's president.

And though it can be tough to "turn it off" and not talk business all the time, she said they work hard to separate the two.

"You try to take something like laundry," -- Adam came over recently to use her machine -- "and separate it from the enormity of all you have to do to keep a small business not just afloat, but make it successful," she said.

Ever since Adam joined the company in 2011 – right after he got an MBA from the University of Washington (Foster), and soon after her original other partners left the business -- Barb said he's been her "fireman," constantly solving problems and extinguishing the "fires" that erupt in any business.

"We were bleeding money until Adam joined on," she said. "He quickly came in with a targeted business plan and moved into expanding our pipeline, increasing our sales, lowering our expenses, getting us to a higher margin and teaching me the realities of being successful."

The two -- she lives in Briarcliff Manor, he divides his time between White Plains and Seattle -- spend about 20 hours a week in the office together but Barb says they talk constantly. They also bring different strengths to the business. Barb is more of the salesman and innovator, while Adam is the finance guy.

As a mother she admits she sees the toll the stress of the business has on him. "If he were any other employee, I'd say 'Take a walk,'" she said. "But he's my son -- and I'm the one that has basically given him the stress."

In that way, running the business can be a challenge, but the positives far outweigh any negatives.

"I never thought I'd go into business with a child of mine," she said. "I think family businesses can be very difficult. But it all comes back to what I said earlier. There's no one you trust more and no one that has your back more than family.

"I wouldn't trade my personal relationship with my child for a business," she added. "Nothing is more important than that bond. But for now, we have both, and are in a very good place... knock on wood!"

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