Family Business #262

According to Forbes magazine, about 90% of all U.S. businesses are family-owned or controlled by a family. Balancing personal and professional interests within such an organization creates interesting opportunities—and challenges. Today we speak with Tom and Eliza Chappell, presenters at this year’s Maine Family Business Awards, and with executive director of the Institute for Family-Owned Business, Catherine Wygant Fossett.


Catherine Wygant Fossett

Prior to joining the Institute for Family-Owned Business in 2014 as its executive director, Catherine Wygant Fossett was the executive director of the Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce, where she oversaw the 50th Anniversary of Windjammer Days, developed the Claw Down lobster bite competition, and annually produced the region’s definitive travel guide.  She is a graduate of Bates College and the Maine association of Nonprofits’ Executive Leadership Institute. Catherine’s prior experience includes 20 years in the travel industry at Hewins Travel as director of marketing and at Hurley Travel Experts as director of sales.

Tom and Eliza Chappell

Tom Chappell, president of Rambler’s Way Farm, is an entrepreneur, environmentalist, philanthropist, and author.  He and his wife, Kate, an artist, founded Tom’s of Maine in 1970, which became a pioneer and leader in the natural personal care business. After selling the company, they launched Ramblers Way, a wool apparel company. Eliza Lyford Chappell, Tom’s daughter, is the womenswear designer for Ramblers Way and the creative director/manager of the Ramblers Way retail stores. She was responsible for opening the company’s first retail store and is in the process of opening two more stores in Portland and Hanover, New Hampshire