“Pop,” as his children called the elder Gordy, owned and operated several businesses during his lifetime, including a grocery store and a contracting business. Their mother, Bertha, was also an entrepreneur, who started an insurance agency and supported other family business ventures. Berry, along with his sisters and brothers, learned entrepreneurial skills and the importance of hard work from their parents, as they worked in the Gordy family businesses.
A tight-knit family, the Gordy kids also learned to count on each other at all times. Gordy Family solidarity paid off for Berry Gordy, Jr., when he requested, reportedly with great trepidation, and received an $800 loan from the family’s Ber-Berry Co-operative. The co-op was the brainchild of eldest sister Esther and provided seed money for the establishment of Berry’s first record company, Tamla.
Following his father’s example, Berry brought family members into the company, giving them important assignments. His eldest sister and founder of the Motown Museum, Esther Gordy Edwards, held several senior executive positions at Motown Records. Berry’s parents and other siblings also played key roles in the company’s management and operation. As staff in the Office of the President, they served as troubleshooters and trusted aides to their son and brother.
- Berry Gordy, Sr.–Office of the President
- Bertha Fuller Gordy–Office of the President
- Anna Gordy Gaye–Artist Development/Office of the President
- Esther Gordy Edwards–International Talent Management Inc.
- Fuller Gordy–Procurement
- George Gordy–Office of the President
- Gwen Gordy Fuqua–Artist Development/Office of the President
- LoucyeGordy Wakefield–Finance
- Robert Gordy–Jobete Publishing/Office of the President
Ever the savvy business people, Berry’s parents and siblings required him to sign an additional contract that pledged future royalties from his songwriting as security for the loan he used to start Motown Records.