Steven Friedlander, TN

Premium Writer

Steven has worked as an editor and a writer for four decades—first in New York City for AVENUE, Home Video, and the parodies The Post New York Post and Off the Wall Street Journal II; for many years at Whittle Communications in Knoxville, Tennessee; and as CEO of A3 Creative Group, an education-focused communications and marketing company. He was, for five years, the editor-in-chief of Cityview, Knoxville’s city magazine. He is also a lecturer at the University of Tennessee teaching the Magazine Industry Workshop.

As a StoryTerrace writer, Steven interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know him better by reading his autobiographical anecdote below.

I Was 10 When My Entrepreneurial Career First Took Flight

I needed money for baseball cards, record albums, and pizza. A lemonade stand wasn’t my cup of tea, and I didn’t want to spent my afterschool afternoons tethered to walking dogs.

I met with my business partner (and, in those days, I believe the term for my partner—today a managing partner at Credit Suisse—was best friend), and we agreed on a business plan (I believe we called our idea something to do to make money): We would deliver hot bagels and all the various sides and schmears every Sunday morning.

We lived in a 200-family apartment building, and the plan was this: On Thursday and Friday evenings, we would ring doorbells throughout the building and take orders for bagels (plain, onion, garlic, salt, or everything), tubs of cream cheese or butter, and packages of lox or Nova Scotia salmon (there is a significant taste distinction due to a variance in brining). And that was it: No chocolate chip bagels, no egg sandwiches, and for goodness sakes no lattes or demi-semi-half-whatnots. Just bagels, cream cheese or butter, and lox or Nova.

Bagels then cost 12 cents. (Yes. 12 cents.) We charged 25 cents a bagel—a 100 percent markup! I can’t remember the costs of the cream cheese or the lox, but we added a healthy percentage to each item and insisted on a $1 delivery charge. In 1970, that was real money! And so, not matter the wind nor the weather, every Sunday morning, at 6 a.m., my partner and I would awaken and walk to the shopping center just a few blocks away, and we would gather the bagels and cream cheese and the lox, and trudge back to one of our apartments, separate and package the orders, and deliver throughout the building no later than 9 a.m.

The business earned about $80 to $100 a week, and now we each had at least $40 a week in our pockets—and with LPs listed at $3.99, I had plenty of extra cash to buy the latest Chicago or Beach Boys hit. (Dylan and Elvis Costello and Joni Mitchell, Prince and XTC and the Hoodoo Gurus, Television and The Talking Heads and Gentle Giant all came later!)

I always complained about the early-morning hours and the occasional belligerent customer, but I’ve always been proud of that first business.

Get in touch today to work with Steven!

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