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Daughter takes over the family business(es)

Union Leader Correspondent

November 16. 2013 1:30AM
Christine Lewis Morse is president and general manager of the Atkinson Resort & Country Club and also runs other businesses in the Lewis family. (JASON SCHREIBER/Union Leader Correspondent)

ATKINSON - As a young girl, Christine Lewis Morse assumed she'd work for her dad someday.

At age 10 she was helping around the office of Lewis Builders.

"I've always known I was going to be involved in the business," she said.

Today, she's more involved than ever.

Lewis Morse plays an active role in running all of the family's businesses. They include Atkinson Resort & Country Club, East Coast Lumber & Building Supply Co. and Equipment Center in East Hampstead, Lewis Builder's Inc., Lewis Builders Development Co., Hampstead Area Water Services Co., Lewis Equipment Co., and Hampstead Area Water Company in Atkinson.

The family's business empire began in 1958 when her father, Peter Lewis, and his parents, Ralph and Lillian Lewis, formed Lewis Builders.

Lewis Morse has done it all over the years and worked her way up, taking on more and more responsibilities over time.

"I went where my father wanted me to go because he needed my help, and in his way it was a means of training me in all aspects of the business," she said.

Lewis Morse is president and general manager of Atkinson Resort & Country Club, where she spends about 60 percent of her time. The facility is open year-round to host large events like weddings, business, social functions and overnight guests in its 16 hotel rooms. It also features restaurants, a golf course and the Willowcreek Golf Academy.

Lewis Morse is also president of Lewis Builders Development, which is focused on building condominiums for residents 55 and older. Her husband, Harold, manages the construction company and its 450 rental apartments.

She is the sole owner of Hampstead Area Water Co. and serves as vice president while her husband is president. The water company serves approximately 3,200 water customers in southern New Hampshire.

Lewis Morse is also the sole owner and president of East Coast Lumber & Building Supply.

Now a 48-year-old mother of 16- and 19-year-olds, Lewis Morse was raised on a family farm in Atkinson which still has 36 beef cattle and three horses belonging to her mother.

She also cuts the hay in the 80-acre field. Haying the field with her husband is something she enjoys because it gives her a break from the other business responsibilities.

"It's work for some people, but it's stress relief for me," she said.

While Lewis Morse has plenty on her plate, she's still thinking of the next business venture for the family business that has continued to grow even after her father's death in 2008.

There's no firm plan just yet, but she said she would like to someday open a local assisted-living facility.

"I would be thrilled to own, operate and construct an assisted-living nursing home facility where I can enjoy the old people," she said.

Lewis Morse admits she's got a lot to juggle with all the businesses, but said she could never do it alone.

"We have good help. People come and work for me or my father in the past, and they don't seem to leave. They come here and do a good job," she said.

The key to a successful business is "surrounding yourself with people who can help you succeed," she said, adding, "Having good people working for you means you don't have to be here 24/7."

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