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12 Unique Family Businesses You Probably Didn't Know About

Some inherit hair color. Others, a snail farm. While all families have their oddities, only a few have managed to turn that into profit. And there's no better example than ex- music producer Todd Ray from AMC's Freakshow, Thursdays 9:30/8:30c.

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1. Zoppé Family Circus

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This family has been traveling together for 170 years and six generations. (Zoppé children who want to anger their parents threaten to run away and join corporate accounting firms.)

2. Gods Own Junkyard

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Chris Bracey succeeded his father to run this family business. The neon signs are either commissioned for specific purposes (shops, TV series, art pieces, etc) or for celebrity buyers who want to make us more jealous of their lives.

3. Venice Beach Freakshow

Ben Leuner / AMC

Todd Ray runs Venice Beach Freakshow and has opened up his home to these self-proclaimed freaks. Needless to say, his family dinners have gotten significantly more interesting...

4. Fereikos Helix (Snail Farm)


Sisters Maria and Panagiota Vlachou set up their first farm outside Athens and have since expanded throughout Greece. "For a slow-moving business, it sure did grow fast!" is hopefully a joke neither of them ever made.

5. Rosenwach Tank Co.


This family-owned business has been making water towers for over 100 years. These towers are required by law for buildings over a certain height, so shorter structures with them are probably just compensating.

6. Lock & Co. Hatters

Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

While making fun of British hats is relatively new, this store has been selling to the British Royalty and other elite for over 300 years and will likely outlive snarky tweets.

7. Alphornbau-Neumann (Alp Horns)


Since 1983, this father and son duo have been producing traditional alp horns. Yes, those cough drop commercials were good for business. No, we not sing the tagline.

8. Rooftop Chimney Sweeps

Kurt Chetkowski / CC BY-SA http://2.0 /

A family-owned business in Virginia, they perform chimney inspections, cleanings, and cheerful renditions of “Step in Time.”

9. World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop

Steve Sutherland / CC BY http://2.0 /

This is a 24-hour family business because you never know when you might get a hankering to sell that sword collection.

10. Orgelbau Klais (Pipe Organs)


Philipp Klais is the great-grandson of the founder and now runs the German company. This family has seen eleven cycles of organs being cool, not being cool, being cool again, being too cool, not being cool, and back to being cool again.

12. Sirch (Sleds)


This family business in Germany produce up to 30,000 sleds every winter. They also craft furniture, which isn’t nearly as fun to ride downhill.

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