5 STAR BAIL BONDS
Hayden Hubbard was never squeamish about her father’s
business. After all, growing up she wore the name of the company on the back of her basketball jersey, and she loved to
help the ladies who ran Bogie’s Cafe next to the Marin Civic
Center make dad Glen Hubbard’s lunch and carry it across
the street to his homey office.
But until she joined Glen, 61, in the business, Hayden, now
31, never fully grasped what bail bonds are about: helping
people at what is often the lowest point of their lives.
“It’s interesting to see the quality people who get caught
up in these situations,” Hayden says. Sharing with her father
the values of empathy and not passing judgment has helped
her seamlessly take over much of the day-to-day business at
5 Star’s San Rafael office. Her aunt Lynn Simon runs another
bail bonds company in Redwood City, with help from her
daughter, and the two offices regularly collaborate.
Running a bail bonds company gave Glen, who played pro
basketball in Europe, the flexibility to coach all three of his
kids’ sports teams. But the family has to be flexible for their
clients as well — like that time last Mother’s Day.
“We’re sitting there at the restaurant table and my aunt
gets a call,” with questions about a bond she’d posted earlier,
Hayden recalls. “We do have to keep our phones at the table.”
At various times, many members of the family have worked
in the company, even Glen’s mother, Joan Perez. “Our clients say, ‘I remember the lady with the white hair,’ ” Hayden
says. “She’s a spitfire of a lady but the most gentle person. She
wouldn’t take any crap.”
SABELLA & LA TORRE
When a business is successful for 88 years, you approach change
cautiously. When Gina LaRocca took over her father’s stake in
the restaurant that was one of the first Fisherman’s Wharf busi-
nesses, she didn’t come in looking to shake things up.
“I feel more like the custodian of this historical thing happening,” says LaRocca, who since joining the family business
at the beginning of this year is learning the ropes from a staff
that includes both family members and those who feel like
family, and from her co-owner, Tom La Torre.
LaRocca’s arrival was a big change for the business her great
grandfather opened as a crab stand in 1927: she’s the first woman
in the family to share the helm. After a successful career as a stylist at San Rafael’s Alessandro Salon, she took over for her father,
Frank Lucian Sabella, after he developed Parkinson’s disease.
LaRocca told her father, “ ‘Dad, maybe it’s my turn.’ It took
a little while for him to feel comfortable with it,” she adds.
Gina speaks respectfully of the generations that built
JULIANNA’S FINE JEWELRY
the business and of her partner and cousin Tom La Torre,
who first worked there in 1976 as a high school student and
has been a co-owner for two decades. And respect is key to
multigenerational success, Tom adds. “There will always be
difference of opinions concerning business matters,” he says,
“but at the same time, if you try hard enough you can usually
find a middle ground that works for all parties.”
The hardest thing about running a family business where
brothers, cousins and nephews are among your employees?
Family weddings, Tom says. “Obviously everybody wants to
attend the function, but somebody is going to have to work.
You may feel guilty, but business is business.”
Shoppers perusing engagement rings or Rolex watches sometimes catch three generations working in this boutique at
once — Julianna Foris, who started the shop 30 years ago with
her now-retired husband, Thomas Foris; their daughter Judy
White; and her daughter Caitlyn White. The Forises were
importers of wholesale chains that were sold in the 1980s
when shopping mall pioneer Ernest Hahn invited them to
open a jewelry store in The Village at Corte Madera.
Most of the other jewelry stores in the new mall were more
upscale, Judy recalls. But over the years, with the addition of
designer Jean-Louis Van Den Bosch (now a co-owner), the
store became the embodiment of elegance it is today.
“The secret to a family business is try to keep emotions out of
decisions, have a thick skin and don’t take things personally. Be
logical about decisions and watch trends closely,” Judy says. M
make Julianna’s shine.
From left to right: Judy
White, Julianna Foris
and Caitlyn White.