Stuart Brown, Village Concepts COO

Forty-four years ago, the Brown family of Bellevue realized entering into assisted living didn’t mean an individual had to jettison their social life or relinquish any sense of community in their golden years.

In 1959, Bill Brown opened his original nursing community called Centennial Villas, building a company with over 20 locations on the West Coast. But it wasn’t until 1975 that Brown decided to cultivate the family culture and officially launched Village Concepts.

From its humble beginnings, family-owned Village Concepts has grown to include three generations of the Brown family and it encompasses 19 independent living centers, 14 assisted living centers, seven memory care centers, and five senior apartment complexes across the state.

By keeping the business in the family and nurturing an engaging atmosphere for residents — coupled with utilizing the latest technology — the Brown family ensures its founding premise of “bringing retirement to life” is upheld.

In fact, the Browns believe that running a family business is the key to Village Concept’s success.

“The great thing about running a family business is the level of commitment that comes from everyone involved,” said Stuart Brown, Village Concept’s Chief Operating Officer and grandson of the company’s founder. “Working with family gives us a good support system. We’re here because we love what we do.”

Because the Browns believe in creating villages that feel like a family, each resident is treated like one of the brood with programs such as Village Concepts University and Bucket List Check-Off, aimed at keeping residents engaged and inspired.

The Village Concepts University provides classes to its residents on the topics of physical and emotional health as they prepare for the next stage in their lives. The Bucket List Check-Off program allows residents to fulfill lifelong goals such as riding in a hot air balloon, a bi-plane, or on a Harley-Davidson.

Village Concept’s on-site programming, and certified, licensed staff who need to be available 24 hours per day means that Village Concepts is well equipped to deal with any issues or emergencies that arise. This means the Browns value employees on whom they can rely.

Outside of their work at Village Concepts, the staff is encouraged to take advantage of the company’s benefits and initiatives which provide extra training and courses for those who want to expand their experience beyond company and state requirements.“We’ve got people who’ve worked here for going on thirty years, and in a family-run business, these connections are highly regarded and trusted,” Brown said.

The family-feel of Village Concepts doesn’t stop there: During the snowstorm earlier this year, employees volunteered their time to make sure residents got the best care possible in such dangerous weather conditions. Village Concepts provided mattresses, blankets, toiletries, and food for those employees, and their family members helped with transportation and childcare.

Because of this community ethos, keeping the company in the family is of utmost importance to the Browns. That said, they never force any family members into the business.

“It is up to every generation in the family if they want to work at Village Concepts, there is no pressure on them to join. We invite family to apply, but we encourage all employees to grow within the company,” Brown said.