In much of America, Father's Day means a card or an afternoon barbecue with a man his kids see a couple of times a year.
Families who run businesses in the Market, by contrast, see each other daily, in a relationship that encompasses both pleasure and profit.
On the eve of Father's Day, we sat down to talk to four* of the father-son or -daughter teams who work together in the Market about this career decision, what they've learned from each other and whether working together has helped or hurt their personal relationships.
ROGER AND ERIC BASSETT OF BASSETTS ICE CREAM, THE MARKET BAKERY AND THE ORIGINAL TURKEY
Roger and Eric are the fifth and sixth generations of the Bassett family to work in the family business. Roger took the Bassetts Ice Cream stand over from his father, David, in 1980, while Roger was still in college. At the time, the Market was struggling but Roger was able to turn Bassetts around. Four years ago Roger's son, Eric, 22, began managing Roger's Market Bakery stand, while maintaining a full-time course load at Drexel in an arrangement mirroring the one Roger had with his dad.
Roger: I didn't like working for my father too much. I didn't like being told what to do. Our relationship was strained for a while. It got better after I took over the business and even better when I started earning enough money that he stopped having to pay my college bills.
Eric also bristles at a lot of oversight.
Eric: I want to do things myself. I want to prove myself.
Roger: He's a typical kid in thinking he knows it all and doesn't need to ask for help. I was like that, too. I tell him, “Ask me. I've made all the mistakes you can make and you can benefit from that. Make new mistakes.”
Roger and his wife, Mary, worked hard to cultivate Eric's interest in the business.
Roger: We made sure that working here was not a requirement and when he did come in, he had fun.
Maybe too much fun.
Eric: When I look back on it, I can see I probably wouldn't have kept my job if I wasn't his son.
The day Roger gave Eric complete control over Bassetts’ presence at the Market’s Harvest Festival in 2010 was a turning point.
Roger: I told him that I would pay for the food and he would pay the employees and we'd split the profits. At the end of the day, I said, "How much did you pay your employees?” And he said a number. Then I asked, "How much did you make?" And it was a much higher number. And I said, "So which do you want to be, the employee or the owner?"
Sales and profits have increased at the Market Bakery each year Eric's run it. There are also personal benefits.
Roger: Our relationship has grown because of the business. We have more to talk about at the dinner table.
Eric: My friends get tired of hearing me talk about this place. They think it's overkill. But he doesn't.
Roger: It gives me an enormous amount of pleasure to see him running down the aisle, really hustling, just like I did.
TOMMY AND JOEY NICOLOSI OF DINIC'S
Nicolosis have been in the meat business in Philadelphia since 1918. In 1954, the sons of business founder Gaetano Nicolosi began selling meat sandwiches out of a garage adjacent to the family's South Philly butcher shop. Gaetano's grandson, Tommy, 69, opened his roast pork stand in the Market in 1980. His son, Joey, 34, started helping out at the stand when he was 5, and stayed on even after earning a degree in music from Rutgers.
Tommy: By the time I was 13 I could cut meat alongside any adult. But my father never asked me if that's what I wanted. I had no choice because I was the oldest. I was not going to do that to Joey. I told him, "You are not going to be in your 40s and say, 'My father made me do this.' If you come in here, it will be your own decision."
Joey: I was interested in music but for a career, there was nothing there. And to me this was preferable to a cubicle.
As to what he learned from his dad:
Joey: It's difficult to sum up: Cutting, service, just about all aspects of the business. What he didn't pass on: He's a complete slob, one of those people who makes a mess when they're cooking and doesn't clean up until later.
The two worked side-by-side full-time for a decade until 2014, when Tommy began to cut back.
Tommy: Now I'm down to about two or three days and I'm not doing all the work. I'm a meat cutter here now, that's my only role.
Joey: He was very easy about relinquishing control. I worked here in some capacity for almost 30 years and if there had been issues, things would have played out entirely differently.
Tommy: My three daughters also all worked here but Joey is the only one who ever asked me how many rolls we sold. The girls never asked. Not only did he ask, he looked at the register tape to see. So he gets the store.
DOMENIC AND ALEXANDER SPATARO OF SPATARO'S
Alex, 28, is the third generation of Spataro men in the Market. He's worked at the family's sandwich stand on and off since he was 16. His dad, Domenic M. Spataro, 61, began working with his father, the late Domenic C. Spataro, at the stand when he was so small "I had to stand on a cheese box to talk to customers."
Alex: He's not as stubborn as my grandfather. For example, in 1987, for drinks, the stand only had white milk, chocolate milk, buttermilk, orange juice, coffee and tea -- no soda.
Dom: They were too new, even though they'd been around for 70 years.
Alex: So my father used his own money to bring some in. My grandpa said, "It'll never sell." We all know how that turned out.
Whereas my dad’s given me the freedom to make improvements, to let me try what I want to try. Like I helped design the store when we moved in 2012.
Dom: I didn't have that luxury.
Alex earned a degree in environmental science from Syracuse University but didn't find the job in that field he wanted. He also worked other places, including at a franchise bakery.
Dom: At the bakery, he learned more about customer service and how to deal with underlings, which is something he brought to this business. My father and I were a two-man band so I never really learned how to be a boss. He knows how to hire people, how to discipline. He also keeps us up to date with technology.
Alex: Having other bosses I came to realize there are far more advantages than disadvantages to working here.
GEORGE MICKEL AND ALLIE SMITH OF BY GEORGE AND HUNGER BURGER
Husband-and-wife George and Kim Mickel opened their first Market business, By George, in 1990. George's father was a shoemaker; Kim's, a carpenter. All four of their kids worked at their market stands part-time in the summers but so far only their eldest, Allie, 25, has become a full-time employee/manager. She helped launch the family's Hunger Burger stand last summer, less than a year after graduating from Liberty University with a degree in business.
Allie: When I first went to college my main goal was to own my own coffee shop. At the time, I was very interested in coffee. Then I realized that I really wanted to be in the family business. It's an interesting business but because it's my family's livelihood, it's closer to my heart. I don't even drink coffee anymore.
As to what she learned in college:
Allie: In school I learned the technical terms for some marketing strategies I had already learned about first-hand in the Market. In my first business class, I had a lot of examples to share from working here.
As to what she learned from her dad:
Allie: I think I learned the work ethic that he learned from his father. I mean, you can have all the brains and smarts in the world but you also have to be willing to do everything from washing the dishes when the dishwasher doesn't show up to overseeing the entire operation.
George: I expect a lot from all my employees but you probably expect even more from your own kids. You want them to succeed. And because you know them better, you're probably less careful about how you say something to them, unfortunately.
Allie: If I were less like him he would be harder to understand. But our personalities are pretty similar: We're both very passionate, stubborn and detail-oriented.
The challenge is to not always talk about work. I got married last year so even though we're seeing each other every day, we aren't going home to the same place anymore.
Two of George's other three children are still in college; his older son, also named George, runs a Verizon store.
George: He wanted to try something on his own, sow his own oats a little bit. He might very well work here someday. But it's totally his choice. You've got to love what you do. I didn't become a shoemaker.
* Other Market stands with father-offspring teams: Tootsie’s, Iovine’s, Kauffman’s, Beiler’s, Kamal’s and the Dutch Eating Place/Lancaster County Dairy.
Carolyn Wyman is the Market's news correspondent and operator of the Reading Terminal's bi-weekly Taste of Philadelphia Food Tour (www.tasteofphillyfoodtour.com).