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Looking to the future and setting its sights on a fifth generation of family leadership, Perry’s Ice Cream is one of the two largest ice cream manufacturing plants in New York State. Operating a 120,000-square-foot plant and a multi-level 40,000-square-foot storage facility, the company sells primarily on the East Coast of the United States, as well as to over 35 countries around the world. The three family members currently engaged in the company approach the responsibility of successful succession with seriousness and gravity. History and business failure statistics have taught them that divisions between family members, differing visions of the future, personality conflicts—and, yes, family dynamics—can bring a family-owned business to its knees and its demise. Thus, the family undertook a detailed exploration of lessons learned over time. This case study tells the story of that path that led to the creation of a living document, “Sustaining Generations,” which will serve as a roadmap for the transition from Generation Four (G4) to Generation Five (G5)—and beyond. Because they have focused so intently on their own past, the current generation wonders if they have overlooked additional considerations in their quest for a plan for the future. Thus, they have sought additional input in the form of a case study for current business students. This descriptive case provides a description of a real situation and challenges students to analyze, assess and evaluate the situation to determine if there was a more effective way to handle the outcome.



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