Meanwhile, Upton was blazing his own trail. “Like a lot of people, I left the family business to go and do my own thing,” Upton says. Before exiting the business to pursue other interests, Upton had spent several years as a client caregiver and manager at Adult Tendercare. “Ultimately, though, the business just called me back,” he says. Upton couldn’t bear the thought of losing the family business, so he decided to step in, returning as Adult Tendercare’s director in 2017. Clarene Shepherd, Upton’s grandmother and Ketch’s daughter, retains ownership.
For Upton, the decision to take on the director role was deeply personal—and nerve-wracking, given the family business’ legacy. Upton had to juggle respect for his family while convincing them the role he could play in Adult Tendercare’s success. “At the end of the day, I said, ‘Guys, let me take it from here,’” Upton says. “I have so much love for my family, which is why I felt comfortable letting them know that we needed a new strategy.”
In the new role, Upton noticed several urgent needs. “Ultimately, the business had grown a little stagnant,” Upton says. “There was no advertising, and the heart for the business had not been there for a little while.” He used his passion for the center and its clients to develop a comprehensive marketing strategy. “I’ve always been passionate about the marketing side of things,” Upton says. “So that was one thing I immediately wanted to revitalize.”