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Village Concepts Retirement Communities and the Brown Family won Seattle Business Magazine’s Silver Award for Best Large Company. President Steve Brown and Director of Operations Stuart Brown accepted the award at a banquet ceremony.

This is the fourth year for Seattle Business magazine’s Family Business Awards, and the striking thing about this year’s winners is that they all tell essentially the same story. From multibillion-dollar enterprises to the smallest of mom-and-pops, their owners describe a sense of responsibility that guides them — not just for the sake of profits today but also for the legacy they will leave to future generations. Like all business owners, they have had to weather the worst economic challenge since the Great Depression. But for them, the stakes were higher because they are in it for the long haul. Their stories reflect common themes — decision making by stockholders who are relatives, as well as problems of succession when one generation passes the torch to the next. But they really ought to be seen as stories of inspiration. These businesses are the foundation of our economy, the glue that holds communities together, the essence of the American Dream.

SILVER: Village Concepts

Federal Way | 356 employees |

Village Concepts, a FAST-EXPANDING 15-facility chain of senior-living communities, is managed by three generations of the Brown family: founder Bill, still an active participant in the business at age 90; sons and board members Steve and Rick; and grandson Stuart, the COO. The assisted living facilities aim to provide a level of independence not found in a traditional nursing home, says Corporate Development Director Tracy Willis. And it is a family business in more than one sense: “Our customers are our family,” she says. “We’re dealing with not just residents but with sons, daughters, offspring. And I think they like that we are grandsons and grandparents ourselves. We make sure they understand we’re sympathetic — even our ownership is going through the same thing.”