"We're looking to make it a better business," said Alex Sokol Blosser.
They have short-term goals that they want to meet, but they are looking at the business as one they want to pass on to their children, if they're interested.
Some family businesses are more resilient during downturns because of that focus on the long term as well as a commitment to their customers, and employees and careful spending, said Pramodita Sharma, a University of Vermont business school professor, and editor of the Family Business Review , a scholarly business journal.
According to the Family Business Institute, 90 percent of U.S. businesses are family-owned. Some giants got their start as family businesses, including retailer Wal-Mart and automaker Ford.
Maple Landmark, a wooden-toy company in Vermont started by Michael Rainville, now employs his sister, his wife, his mother and his 93-year-old grandmother, as well as his sons when they are not in school.
Rainville, whose business grew out of a hobby he had as a kid making game boards from scrap wood, is willing to work extremely long hours and do whatever it takes to keep the business going.
"I don't have grand expectations. This is what we do. It's my sandbox, I enjoy it, I don't want to see it go away," he said of the company that last year won an award from the University of Vermont School of Business Administration for its long-lasting success.
Competition from imports is a constant struggle for the company, which makes wooden trains, jigsaw puzzles, blocks, and cribbage and checkers boards.
When business softened after 2001, they bought a similar Vermont company so they could offer a broader array of toys. But between 2002 and 2007 they were lucky if they grew at all each year and ended up smaller at the end of the period by about 15 percent.
"We're pretty frugal Yankees, but you find ways to be sure that you're not spending more than you need to," he said.
Working with family is ingrained in Rainville. The family helped out with his grandparents' dairy farm and, as a teenager, he pumped gas after school and on weekends at his parents' general store.
"And so it was kind of a natural," he said. "This is now the focus of the family. The cows are gone, the store is long sold, and this is where we all gather now."