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Boomerang CEOs

More entrepreneurs are coming out of retirement to help run their children's businesses
Sondra and Allyson Ames: They've learned to delegate according to strengths
Sondra and Allyson Ames: They've learned to delegate according to strengths Ericmillette.com

Steve Bernard figured he had cashed in all his chips—that is, Cape Cod Potato Chips, the company he'd founded, sold to Anheuser-Busch (BUD), and repurchased after the brewer shuttered its snack-food business. Along the way he'd also started Chatham Village Foods, a maker of fancy salad croutons. In 1999, Bernard, then 60, sold both companies for good. "I thought, all right, I'm free at last," he says. Bernard spent the next few years in Florida and on the Cape, happily paring his golf handicap.

Then his daughter, Nicole, called with a request. Nicole, who had worked at both of her father's operations, told him she wanted to start an organic-snack company—with him as her partner. Steve's first reaction was to say no. He assumed her business would have a lot of relatives on staff, as his startups had, and he wasn't sure she understood what she was getting into. "I don't think people have any idea how difficult it is to work and stay close as a family," he says. "When you throw in the financial pressure and problems of a startup, it's just incredibly hard."