Auto-Biography Series Continued - Closet Office

(My beginning & end entrepreneurial endeavors)

~~A Travel-Oriented Publication

     I started the entrepreneurial part of my life 42 years ago preparing specialty publications (Your Health Digest;  Senior World, Your Health, Help Phone Digest For Seniors, Carriage Hills Condo to name a few.) I worked these first publications from a very small closet office, 4 feet x 7 feet, which contained a Microsoft CPU & monitor plus a jet printer (one of the first of its kind) which cost together $10,000 on a lease of three years and that today could run around $850!!!. I also had a copier, bookshelf full of office products, plus a Dictionary, Thesaurus and the Columbia -Viking Desk Encyclopedia (all of which  I still have and use.)

     There were also a shelf full of folders holding former and current jobs in progress, plus other junk one gathers over the years when involved as a repairman, gardener, handyman, tools that are necessary and never thrown out. A step ladder and a 6' one which somehow squeezed in the closet, too.

     One of my largest and earliest specialty publications was based on the reconstruction of a major north-southbound highway. It was developed, produced and distributed for a car parts wholesaler who had many stores from Miami through Palm Beach County, Florida. The publication showed drivers alternate streets running parallel to I-95 which was going under reconstruction to increase the number of lanes from two to four each way and caused many traffic jams on that road during the two-three years of work. These parallel streets showed drivers how to bypass construction sites along this major north-south road.

     To amass the information, I drove every street with my wife who noted the street layouts throughout the three counties covered by the construction. From her notes, I drew every street that ran parallel to  I-95 within a half mile of this main thoroughfare, and completed a 16-page publication that I sold to this auto parts wholesaler for $6,000 for 100,000 copies...and became a wonderful promotion piece during the next few years following the beginning of I-95 reconstruction.

     It really gave me a great start in my special publication business!

~~~ More Specialty Publications

     The next specialty publication that helped my business to grow involved the consumer health field.

When we started our "Your Health Digest", it was the only one of its kind at that time, and was sold to doctors to distribute to their patients not only from their office, but also in nearby drugstores as an informational-promotional magazine. What we did was to digest health stories into 75 different categories that we organized this information under. We also subscribed to a feature story syndicated news service which gave us a broad band of stories (and artwork) of interest to consumers. We published an edition every-other-month.  

     In addition to this specialty health-oriented magazine, we rewrote a new one for those drug stores not participating with a physician, and also included a section in other publications we produced for various religious and condo organizations, ten in number. It wasn't until ten years later that other health publications started to appear in the market.

~~~ After our business increased--We moved into an outside office to help handle a number of new sales personnel we added to seek new business.  We enlarged to some more than five more different specialty publications and for at least ten years had a real flourishing business.  Then technology caught up to us.

    When we started our "Desktop Publishing Business", we were one of the few that were listed under that category in  the telephone pages.  However, that specialty grew fast and furious, and giants like IBM & Microsoft  created a simple technology that replaced us with secretaries who could do the same work at a much lower cost.  By the time we first retired, we were down to only our Condo newsletter plus an Internet website to produce income.  That site was recently retired since it took up too much of my spare time--it was time to cease its publication and really retire. We chose Brookdale as our retirement assisted living home...and back to our 4'X7' closet office and where we write a column for the Brookdale Resident Blog weekly and handle storage for various committees that I participate in. We also received about 150 e-mails daily to help in the research of "senior news." Now, the area also is used as a storage area with many shelves up to the ceiling and floor area for what's left of our "junk" collections.  It's remarkable how one adapts to various situations.



Here's our latest "Always Alliterative" poem using the letter "B":


Bernice began buying bikes

Because biking bestowed bodily benefits.

But bees bothered bicyclists badly,

Bringing bedlam behavior beforehand.


Send us your "Always Alliterative" poem to: to be included in this column if approved by our editorial experts.

Bernie is a real person who resides in one of our Brookdale communities. Many of the stories he has written are based on factual evidence from newspaper stories and other sources available to the public.  He uses his imagination in parts to help supply the “twist” at the end.  The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Brookdale Senior Living.


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