The trip has not come to an end, but things have changed dramatically over the past year. I still call myself an entrepreneur, even though we were forced to close our small business in October of last year.
I think I have inherited the spirit of "continuing on" in business from my Dad, who is never without an idea for a new business and/or way to provide. He started at 13 when he manned a radio station from his bedroom closet in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and never looked back.
I was a kid in the 70's when huge gas guzzlers lined up around the block for gas, the economy was as bad as it has been these past three years and money was tight. We never felt it in our house, though I know there were times when my parents were worried about how to pay the bills. My Dad always had an idea for a new start.
When I was really young, he worked at a radio station in Ocean City as its General Manager. We had the big red VW van parked out in front of our house each night after he came home and he worked with names I still remember Anne Fitzick, Tony Blum, Ed Rosenfeld, Vinny Dee. Their names and likenesses forever etched in my mind; the guys with sideburns and bell bottoms and Anne with her big blond hairdo. Under his watch, the station grew from AM to AM/FM Stereo and also had a small TV studio upstairs. I can still smell the teletype ink and the smell of actual "carts" and electricity in the fish bowl radio studio.
My Dad also took advantage of our locale. When the Miss America pageant was one of the biggest events of the year, he became the local "on the scene" reporter for radio stations all over the country as he interviewed their local state pageant winners throughout Miss America Week leading up to the crowning of Miss America on national TV. My sister and I would watch with excitement on pageant night to see our Dad with his press credentials sitting along the runway as the girls paraded by.
When I was in 1st grade, my Dad started the local paper in our area. When I say started, I mean from scratch. He set up an office nearby, wrote copy, sold ads and built it from the ground up. I was so incredibly proud the day the "Township Times" first arrived in our school. It was a free paper with all of the local news and was supported by ad revenue. Later, he expanded to another seasonal paper called "Le Cap Canadien" which catered to the French Canadian population who came to the Jersey Shore each summer. The paper was entirely in French and made our visitors feel welcome and appreciated.
The paper was later sold while Dad started his next project, literally from the ground up. He partnered with some other entrepreneurs and they built a radio station in Cape May County. It was a thrill to visit "the station" while it was being built and see the progress of my father's dream as the radio tower rose out of the trees on the wooded lot. I later worked at the station on the night shift and helped with the traffic logs as needed. My Dad had his own office as General Manager and Owner and he sat in a big leather chair behind a large, dark wood desk.
Since he sold the station, he has worked for a couple of other companies, still holding true to his radio roots all the way. And, when he was laid off as he approached retirement age he "continued on" and started a trade association for those in radio who schedule commercials for the stations all across the country and around the world.
He never strayed far from his radio roots, but always would "continue on" to the next thing and I know it is what keeps him going each day, helps him live his dream and makes me so incredibly proud to be like him in this way. I don't know yet what my next project will be, but I know that I have a great example to follow and I hope I can do it half as well as he always has.