What We Talk About When We Talk About a Company as a Family

Every company claims to be a family. Heck, at Olive Garden they even claim that their customers are family. But few of these companies live up to the analogy. Such companies are too big, the various departments are too far removed from one another, there’s no opportunity for comradery let alone a sense of family. This is what makes Dare Commercial Services so different—there’s no multi-story office building, no sprawling campus, it’s a business operating with the sort of humility the big guys can only dream of buying. But money can’t buy sincerity.

When I first visited Dare this past May, I got lost. I squinted at my GPS wondering if it might be broken. It had led me to a small house way out in the quiet countryside of Franklinville, NJ. I grabbed my notebook and wandered around the property, sweating in the tweed blazer I wore in hopes of looking like a “proper writer.” With no other option, I knocked on the only door available and lo-and-behold my GPS had been working perfectly. This was Dare Commercial Services, a quaint little house in the country.

Of course, this doesn’t mean it’s not a proper company. My interview was held in a kitchen-cum-conference room, equipped with all sorts of technology for monitoring the avalanche of data coming in every day. When the CEO, Doug Dare, took me on a tour of the place I was astounded. Every room in the house had been converted into an office but each office maintained a homeliness I’ve never encountered in a professional setting. At Dare, the amount of distance between the HR recruiter and the CEO is about two steps. This is a company whose services spans three states, yet everyone running the show remains within shouting distance of one another. Here is a company that truly operates like a family.

This sentiment was reinforced when I sat down with some of the team to ask them about their time at Dare Commercial Services. When I asked everyone what their favorite part about working at Dare is, everyone spoke about the friendly, family-like atmosphere of the company. Kerry Opperman, the executive administrative assistant, replied, “I love the familial dynamic that goes with working for a small business. I also enjoy the laid-back atmosphere, flexibility, and family-oriented attitude.” Karoline Lebron, the administrative assistant, agreed and added that “This is a place where I don’t feel stressed out in any way. Plus, the atmosphere is friendly and nice.”

Director of operations, Christine Velazquez expanded on the topic of a family saying, “[At Dare] we have all been able to raise our families while maintaining our careers and have never had to choose one over the other.” The importance of a work-life balance might be the favorite topic of editorial writers today, but it remains an issue for employees that most companies today struggle to accommodate. A company that truly operates as a family understands the significance of a proper work-life balance—and according to employees, Dare truly understands.

When I asked the group if they had developed any meaningful friendships during their time at Dare, everyone had a story about the bonds they had formed with coworkers over the years. Christine Velazquez’s story might be the most amazing of all though. Her husband actually proposed to her at the office in front of all of her coworkers, creating a surprise that Christine will never forget. But those are not the only wedding bells to be heard at Dare, as Christine told me:

"We are a family here figuratively and literally; our facilities manager met my mom while she was visiting the office in September of 1999 and married her in 2001. Through all of the years, I have had the privilege to work with some amazing people and I have been very blessed by the friendships that I have made over the years."

Although I have only been with Dare for a month, I have already seen proof of Christine’s words. When I come to work I do not feel as if I am stepping into an office, but rather as if I am stepping into someone’s home. And I am.

I’m stepping into the home of a business that has lasted for over 39 years and is still growing. I’m stepping into a home where friendships are made and families are born. I’m stepping into a home where employees are treated like brothers and sisters and the various titles of positions that separate us are only so much ink on paper.

I am stepping into the home of Dare Commercial Services.

By: Ada Wofford—Content Writer