What happens when a long-time family business needs to sell

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine – Handing over the keys to a decades-old family business must be difficult.

In a state where 80 percent of businesses are family-owned, that’s a lot of heritage to preserve. But when there is no one left to take over, many businesses must either sell or close.

It’s happened to Maine’s biggest companies. In 2015, LL Bean named Stephen Smith its first CEO, who was neither family nor someone who had been there for years. Dead River and Getchell Brothers Ice were sold to out-of-state interests in December.

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