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Working As A Husband-and-wife Team

By Cece Nunn, posted Jan 17, 2020
Brooke and Devin Skipper own Salt Air, a heating and cooling services company in Wilmington. (Photo c/o Salt Air / by Laura Glantz Photography)
The Wilmington business owned by husband and wife Devin and Brooke Skipper began with Devin as the sole employee about eight years ago before Brooke joined him.
 
Since then, Salt Air, which offers heating and cooling services and is located at 3119 Kitty Hawk Road, has grown to about 18 employees.
 
The couple answered questions recently about their company and what it’s like to run a business together.
 
GWBJ: How did Brooke become involved in the business?
BROOKE: Originally, I thought I wanted to be a teacher, and I was teaching for about two years and just really decided that that wasn’t for me. That wasn’t where I was supposed to be. And while trying to figure that out, I just kind of fell into helping with taking calls and invoicing and that sort of thing and I’m still here. But that’s a good thing. I do enjoy it … Devin handles more of the technical side of things and operational type stuff and then I handle all the financials and the marketing.
 
GWBJ: What are the greatest benefits of working in a family business?
BROOKE: I would say that our goals are the same as far as company growth and company culture so us really being on the same page and in tune with that I think helps because we kind of hold everybody to that same standard. DEVIN: On my side, the biggest benefit is … they say organizations move at the speed of trust; there’s nobody I can trust more than Brooke.
 
GWBJ: How would you describe your company’s culture?
BROOKE: The first word that comes to mind is ‘team.’ We’ve done a really good job of emphasizing the point that it’s not just about you. If we’ve got a job to do, we’re going to do the job as a team and get it done.
 
GWBJ: What are the biggest challenges of being involved in a family business?

BROOKE: Work comes home a lot of times, and I think with any business owner … it’s kind of inevitable. He and I both are around it all day and then sometimes it’s just really hard to turn it off. We have a 24-hour business so it’s just hard, but I think we do a really good job of blocking out time for a date night as silly as that might be; us going to breakfast on a random Thursday morning together is considered quality time, and we try to just make the most of that hour and block out work a little bit.
 
DEVIN: But for everyday life, just not adding the stress of trying to not talk about work is important.
 

Special Focus: Family Business

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