1 Days Left to Support a Troper-Created Project : Personal Space (discuss)

Family Business

A Family Business is any organization run by people who happen to be related. It could be anything, in any time period, across any setting. There is probably an expectation that the children (particularly the eldest son) will carry on the legacy. Truth in Television: many small "Ma and Pop" stores are family owned and operated (kind of goes with the name). But they seem to be dwindling as a result of competition from larger chains.

Sometimes used in Sit Coms to allow for a genre crossover between Dom Com and Work Com.

Not to be confused with The Family's "Business", though there is frequent overlap.


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     Anime & Manga  

  • In Hunter × Hunter, the Zoldyck family is literally a family of assassins. From the great grandfather to the youngest of the bunch.
  • Being a deconstruction of the Fighting Series Played for Laughs, Muteki Kanban Musume has the Onimaru Chinese Restaurant as an interesting case: Makiko Onimaru owns the restaurant, she cooks and has only one employee: her daughter, Miki Onimaru,is a Poster Girl who loves to slack at his job, never delivers the ramen on time, and doesn’t know how to cook. The only reason she still gets her job is because she is Makiko’s daughter, and Makiko continuously beats her up trying to check Miki in line.
  • In Glasslip, the Fukami family runs a glass shop, and Tōko herself aspires to become a glass artisan.
  • In Digimon Tamers, Takato's family owns a bakery while Juri's own a tavern. Juri is implied to help her father out once in a while, as she tells Takato when she's dragged away by orochi that she's used to deal with drunkards.
  • In YuYu Hakusho, Keiko Yukimura's family owns a local ramen shop.
  • Two of these show in Captain Tsubasa: Sanae's family owns a local ice cream parlor, while Ishizaki's owns a sento or bath house. In the World Youth Cup manga, Ishizaki tells his girlfriend Yukari that he's well aware of his family needing him more, so he won't actually play soccer for too long.
  • Marmalade Boy shows that Shinichi Namura's family owns one in Kamakura. When Namura has to resign after his and Meiko's romantic affair blows in their faces, Namura returns to help the family.
  • In Girls und Panzer, Maho stands to inherit her mother's position as head instructor of the Nishizumi school. This suits Maho fine, as it takes some pressure off of Miho to perform according to the "Nishizumi-style" their mother wants.
  • Kaori's parents from Your Lie in April runs a cake shop named "Ma Fille", French for "my daughter", as revealed in OVA episode.
  • Several of the major characters in Shokugeki no Soma have come to Tootsuki from family-run restaurants to hone their skills.
    • Soma has run the blue-plate diner Yukihira with his dad for years, and has no ambitions beyond graduating and taking over.
    • Megumi's family run a ryokan somewhere in Tohoku, and Megumi began to cook to help in the business.
    • The Aldini brothers are the heirs to a trattoria somewhere in Tuscany which is currently run by their uncle.
    • Houjou Miyoko's family run a famous Chinese restaurant in Yokohama.
    • The Nakiri family are a gastronomic powerhouse, with Senzaemon acting as chairman of the Tootsuki group and headmaster of the school, Leonora running the Tootsuki group's R&D-division, and Alice and Erina doing their (very impressive) best to follow in Leonora's and Senzaemon's footsteps, respectively.
    • Arato Hisako has also joined the family business, albeit in a roundabout way. The Arato family have been the Nakiri family's personal physicians for generations, but Hisako chose to work as Erina's aide and let her family's knowledge of medicinal herbs form the foundation of her cooking.
    • The Mito family own one of the biggest meat-packing operations in Japan, and Ikumi's tenure at Tootsuki is part of her father's efforts to groom her to take over the business.

     Fan Fiction  
  • Present in the Puella Magi Madoka Magica fic To the Stars in form of the Matriarchies. Due to events that raised the Magical Girl's life expectancy from less than a decade to centuries, it was noted that girls who want to contract have higher chances to do so if they are related to Magical Girls (in this fic being a Magical Girl does not prevent pregnancies). It didn't take long before it became a family business. The main protagonist is in an unenviable position of being related to two mutually antagonistic Matriarchies.

    Films — Animated 
  • The noodle shop run by Po's adoptive family in Kung Fu Panda. Played for laughs because Po is very obviously adopted.
    • Also:
    Po's dad: Soon, you will inherit the shop, as I inherited it from my father, who inherited it from his father, who won it from a friend in a game of mahjong!
  • Used a few times in Atlantis: The Lost Empire. His grandfather's influence led to Milo having a love for Archeology, and Audrey joined her father as a mechanic. It's played for laughs with Vinnie, an Explosives Nut, whose florist parents wanted him to join the family business. He relates that the first time he tried to become a florist he got bored, played around with some explosives, and blew up the Chinese laundromat next door. He does say that he (now that he's ridiculously wealthy) is thinking about opening up the shop again.
  • Manolo from The Book of Life, comes from a long line of bullfighters on his father's side.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Godfather, for the ultimate "family business". Mafia business aside, they also ran an import business for olive oil.
  • The Cabots (father and son) in Reservoir Dogs.
  • In Terry Gilliam's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Sally asks where's her brother since his father's theatrical troupe was "Salt & Son" He told him there was no son but it was the tradition to put that.
  • In Cassandras Dream, dramatic events probably wouldn't have unfolded if one of the two brothers had been satisfied to keep on running his father's restaurant... and hadn't agreed to help the uncle with the trouble in his business. They're not actually The Mafia, but the subtext exists.
  • In Hop, the Easter Bunny is apparently a family business. The central conflict of the film is that the latest heir would rather be a drummer than take up the title.
  • The Larrabee family in Sabrina runs a Family Business Empire. Their name shines on lots and lots of brass plaques at the main entrance of skyscraper-sized headquarters.
  • In When Darkness Falls, Aram owns a restaurant together with his brother Dana and his sister Nadja.
  • The Peabody's in Why Be Good own a department store. Winthrop Peabody Sr is the owner while his son, Winthrop Jr, is head of personnel.


  • Dragon Queen: Trava and her father own and run a tavern.
  • In The Last Dragon Chronicles, Elizabeth Pennykettle and her daughter specialize in the making of clay dragons that come to life.
  • Over the Wine-Dark Sea : Sostratos and Menedemos are cousins working for a shipping business owned by their respective parents
  • Thomas Mann's novel Buddenbrooks, describing the slow and painful decline of a merchant dynasty in Lübeck, Germany.
  • In the Aunt Dimity series, the international law firm of Willis and Willis is run in Boston by William Willis Sr. and his son Bill. They contact Lori Shepherd to inform her of Dimity's bequest. Eventually, Lori marries Bill, and he runs the English branch of the firm from an office in Finch.
  • In The Bible, both king and priest are generally intended to be inherited positions, though certain lines can be cut off from it. By the New Testament era, however, the position of king was taken by a Roman and priests were installed based on who paid the most to be one.

     Live Action TV  

  • Ojai Foods from Brothers and Sisters was founded by William Walker and later run by his son Tommy and daughter Sarah. His brother-in-law, Saul, managed the accounting.
  • Scavo's, the pizzeria Tom and Lynnette open on Desperate Housewives.
  • The funeral home in Six Feet Under. The Fishers have been funeral directors for three generations, but both sons of the youngest generation are at best ambivalent about it. Claire is on the other hand dissatisfied that she inherited only a sum of money, relatively small compared to a share in the firm. Mrs Fisher, their mother, is nvolvd in the work as well, though she stops working for the company and is merely helping from time to time.
  • On Barney Miller, a 50ish painting contractor came from "[Lastname] and Son." Barney asked him what time his son was going to get there; he responded "I'm the son." It had been his father's business, but he retired; the son's son wasn't interested in a career in painting, he wanted to be a musician. The son just didn't have the heart to take his old man's name off the company title.
  • The Bluth Company in Arrested Development.
  • Albeit unofficially, Keith Mars's private eye business in Veronica Mars, which he runs with his daughter Veronica.
  • "Saving people. Hunting things. The family business." In Supernatural, Sam initially doesn't want to carry on the legacy while Dean, the eldest son, does.
  • The Korean Drama, Twinkle Twinkle is based around the infighting between siblings at a publishing house.
  • Steptoe and Son: Old Albert and his son Harold. Their scrap business was founded by Albert's father, which actually makes Albert the "Son" in the firm's title.
  • Are You Being Served? was set in Grace Brothers' department store. The ancient Young Mister Grace put in several appearances; his brother Old Mister Grace didn't get about much.
  • The business in the Showtime documentary series with the same name as this trope is of course this. Being it's on Showtime, you can probably guess what the Family Business is.
    • Hint: The patriarch is better known as Seymour Butts.
  • Pawn Stars: The Gold & Silver Pawn Shop is run by Rick and his father, "Old Man" and employs his son, "Big Hoss".
  • The Protector episode "Blood" centered on a family run restaurant operated by a mother, her oldest son and her daughter. The younger son wants to open up a second restaurant under the same name to expand the Family Business but financial and personal issues threaten to derail everything.
  • Little House on the Prairie had the Olesons Mercantile and Nellie's Restaurant/Hotel.
  • Duck Dynasty: Phil Robertson founded "Duck Commander", a duck-call manufacturing company. His son Willie is CEO, and the majority of its employees are also Robertson family members.
  • Blue Bloods: The Reagan family's adult males are all in the NYPD or have retired, and Nicki, the daughter of Erin Reagan. has announced her desire to join the NYPD as well in an episode.

     Tabletop Games  

  • Traveller: Several really. But an interesting example is the Oberlindes family which brought itself from being a group of Free Traders to near Mega Corp. status. They still have something of a style to the way they do business.
  • A Rogue Trader dynasty is essentially a family owned Mega Corp.. The Warrant of Trade is generally passed from parent to child and members of the Rogue Trader's extended family are frequently employed by the dynasty.
    • This also often applies to space ship crews. Since the ships have huge crews and are effectively Generation Ships it's not uncommon for the crew of a particular section of the ship to all be members of the same extended family passing the job down through the generations.

  • In the Mrs Hawking play series, the Hawking family's venture capital firm, started by Ambrose Hawking and carried on by his sons Justin and Nathaniel.
    • Mrs. Hawking herself remains indepedently wealthy due to inheriting her husband's stock in the company after his death.
  • In All My Sons, Joe Keller put forty years of his life into building up a business which he badly wants his son Chris to inherit.

     Video Games  

  • Jak X Combat Racing had Rayn swept up into her late father's plot to take over a rival's gang.
  • In Fire Emblem Awakening, Stahl is said to come from a family that owns a very traditional apothecary business in Ylisse. Since Stahl's brother is expected to inherit it he decided to join the knighthood instead, but still uses his knowledge of plants and tonics once in a while.
  • Fantasy Life has a handful of colleagues for each of the 12 jobs. Within these groups, it's not rare to find at least two people that are siblings, married, parent and child or grandparent and grandchild.

     Visual Novels  

  • Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai! has several examples, particularly in class 2-S. For instance, the Kuki Financial Conglomerate, exactly as described on the tin. This also gives Ageha, Hideo, and Monshiro rather... distinct personalities.
  • Ace Attorney has the Von Karma family. Manfred and his daugher Franziska are both known as ruthless prosecutors, and this family business also spreads to adoptee Edgeworth.
    • Also, played with during 1-4 with the owner of the boat station who is out of his mind (faking it actually) and believes his station house to be a pasta shop to pass onto his children (whom he believes Phoenix and Maya to be).
    • The Feys, too. All the women of the family are spirit mediums, which actually IS a sucessful business, at least that much before the DL-6 incident.
  • The Kirigiri family in Danganronpa, an ancient clan of detectives.

     Web Original  

  • In the Whateley Universe, Goodkind International is really a family business, with Goodkinds working up through the ranks to take over the key positions as older Goodkinds retire or move to the board.
  • Grandmaster of Theft's Cain International. The protagonist herself is being groomed as inheritor.
  • In The Autobiography of Jane Eyre (modernized vlog series based on Jane Eyre), Thornfield Exports has been owned by the Rochester family for decades and they provide high-quality aluminium products for homes. The male lead Mr Rochester "inherited" the position of its CEO, and he's probably not too keen. He's thirty-ish and his older relatives are not at sight, and he has only an eight-year-old daughter. His live-in personal assistant Grace Poole organizes things and stuff in the company as well as in Mr Rochester's household.
  • Neurotically Yours: This is the reason Foamy the Squirrel HATES StarSchmucks so much.The company has pretty much run smaller, family run coffee places out of business due to their marketing. However, he wouldn't be so bitter if the price wasn't as extravagant and the coffee not tasting like crap.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • The WWE. Vince McMahon is the chairman, his wife Linda is the CEO, their son Shane is president of new media and global media (i.e. their internet presence and international business), and their daughter Stephanie is the head writer. And it's fully expected that Stephanie will inherit the reins once Vince and Linda retire.
    • Just to clarify: That's in real life. Their kayfabe roles are a little different.
    • Don't forget son-in-law Paul Levesque, performer. You may know him as Triple H.
    • Shane has since resigned and left the family business, though he returned in 2016.
      • And Vince picked up the company that would become the WWE from his father, Vince McMahon Senior.
      • Who picked it up from his father, Jess McMahon.
  • The English school Dulwich College used to have headmasters with the family name "Alleyn" (after its founder Edward Alleyn). The tradition hasn't been continued for a long time though.
  • M&M/Mars, a candy company famous for M&M's, Mars bars, Skittles and Snickers, among other products, is still private, still family-owned, and based in the one place you'd probably least expect: McLean, VA, just outside Washington, D.C..
    • Candy companies used to be this almost exclusively; now there are only a tiny handful left. Tootsie Roll is another family-owned one.
  • Another real-life example: S.C. Johnson & Son, the company that makes Windex, Glade and Ziploc.
    • Often confused for the above company, Johnson & Johnson is no longer a family business.
  • And another: Playboy magazine. Hugh Hefner founded it; his daughter currently runs it.
  • The Adamses, the Roosevelts, the Kennedys, and the Bushes.
  • Most Kingdoms and Empires in history, often forming a Deadly Decadent Court.
  • In-N-Out: best damn burgers in the world. Located here in California and owned by family members for generations. Founder set precedent for Bible verses to be printed on the bottom of bags, cups, and cartons. Currently owned by non-family: to be inherited back in years to come.
  • Members of the Ford family still own the majority of the Ford Motor Company.
  • McDonald's was once actually run by a real family, the McDonald brothers. They invented the very concept of "fast food" via automatic mechanical cookers and ran the franchise for about 20 years until they partnered up with Ray Kroc, who rewrote all of the signed agreements and took the company over in a hostile takeover, literally leaving the brothers sitting in the desert cooking burgers for random yokels and eternally trying to recapture their Glory Days.
  • The Whedon family of television screenwriters.
  • Culver's: A fast growing Wisconsin-based fast casual food chain operating all over the interior US is owned and run by the Culver family.
  • Universal Pictures was this when it was established in 1912 by Carl Laemmle. He named his namesake son president of the studio as a 21st birthday present and he helped the studio transition to sound and color. The Laemmles sold the studio in 1936.
  • Stellan Skarsgård is a very famous Swedish actor, appearing in films such as Good Will Hunting, The Avengers, Mamma Mia! and Pirates of the Caribbean. He has eight children, seven of whom (His oldest son Alexander being most famous in the U.S.) have had reasonably successful acting or modeling careers. The one who hasn't? Well, his youngest son, Ossian, is three.
  • The Keslensky webcomics are this with a twist — Rachel began Last Res0rt a few years before her father J.P. started Bug Pudding, rather than the other way around.
  • As explained in Live-Action TV above, the Robertsons and "Duck Commander" from Duck Dynasty.
  • Though he's now remembered for something different, a great deal of Marcus Brutus's reputation among the Senate came from the fact that his ancestor, Lucius, had founded The Roman Republic, and that his family had been in politics for hundreds of years.
  • Many small, medium and sometimes large Italian companies fall into this category, including Barilla (pasta), Ferrero (chocolate), Beretta (firearms), Marcegaglia (steel), Pinifarina (car design) and many fashion brands like Armani and Ermenegildo Zegna.