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7 Tips For a Thriving, Sustainable Family Business That Lasts Follow these pointers for keeping your business and your family together.

By Michelle Goodman

This story appears in the March 2016 issue of Start Up.

Jeffery Salter
John D’Eri, left, and son Thomas of Rising Tide Car Wash in Florida.

John D'Eri was concerned his autistic son, Andrew, would have trouble finding steady employment after completing school. Set on changing those odds, D'Eri, who spent two decades building and running litigation-support companies in New York, began researching businesses he could run to employ Andrew and other young adults with autism.

When his other son, Thomas, graduated from college in 2011 with a double major in finance and sustainability, D'Eri enlisted him as cofounder. The pair just needed a business idea. Their research took them to Florida, where they gave themselves a crash course in the car-wash trade and -- with the help of a corporate disability consultant and team of autistic workers they hired -- spent a summer at a borrowed car wash ironing out a viable set of work processes.

In December 2012, the D'Eris bought a 20-year-old car wash in Parkland, Fla., and rebranded as a company committed to hiring 80 percent of its staff from the autistic community. In April 2013, Rising Tide Car Wash opened its doors with John as CEO, Thomas as COO and 24 autistic employees onboard, Andrew included. "It's really the definition of a family business, from its inspiration being a son with disabilities to its formation being [by] a serial entrepreneur coupled with his recent business-grad son," John D'Eri says.

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