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Business: Entrepreneurship & Small Business
Twentieth Century Boys: How One Family Business Survived and Thrived
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Twentieth Century Boys: How One Family Business Survived and Thrived

Andrea Clark Watson

In the early 1900s, Gordon Clark and his father, Si, sold their farm in rural Canada in search of the business of America. They found it in Seattle, Washington, and in 1929 Gordon and his brother Russ bought Genesee Coal and Stoker.

Seattle life in the late 1920s was flourishing and businesses were booming —but within the year, the crash of the stock market would bring the Great Depression to the 1930s. Genesee survived, however, and during the 1940s, the Clark brothers adapted to the popular culture by adding heating oil to their coal service. The 1950s in Seattle spun good times for the heating oil business, but those happy days came to a screeching halt as competitive heating options arrived. The popular shift from heating oil to natural gas resulted in yet another change in business strategy for the second generation, led by Gordon’s son Don Clark. Through the decades that followed, Genesee Energy met each challenge, swaying with cultural and energy trends both locally and nationally. Now facing the current issue of climate change, Genesee Energy’s third generation, led by Steve Clark, is vectoring toward renewable energy to maintain its legacy.

A narrative nonfiction saga of three generations of family, culture, and energy issues, Twentieth-Century Boys shows how relationships and values have carried one small company through near devastation time and again— from the 1920s to the present day.

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