The idea of being & thinking like an entrepreneur started as I watched & listened to my grandparents (more specifically my grandmother, Rose). They created Louis Jacobson Meats in Rochester, New York in 1920. I witnessed lots of creativity which allowed me to express my curiosity. Our meat plant which was on Front Street was the center of activity since my grandfather was known as ‘the Mayor of Front Street’. Front Street was filled with entrepreneurs running various shops along both sides of this busy enterprising hub of commerce. From retail to wholesale, street vending to bars & restaurants, Front Street was where everything you could imagine happened. And I caught my spirit from the energy.
Following my graduation from Cornell, I went to Springfield College in the Summer of 1971 to explore the idea of becoming a Gym teacher & swim coach. With a Fellowship from the Athletic Department, I began this interesting chapter. A part-time job led to the creation of SHELTER & Pub Tomorrow, 2 distinct bar & music ventures. As General Manager for 2 Springfield Mass businessman, I was given the chance to create this with lots of my vision! We opened in the old Belli’s A-GoGo roadhouse and it worked!
I returned to Rochester to join a new chapter in my family’s business - the sale of Jacobson Meats to Wegmans. This was a short chapter- 6 months. This was not the place & time for me to take a corporate job. I left on an adventure to find my entrepreneurial spirit. It was Summer of 1973 and off I went to Columbia! Yes, South America! After 3 weeks of exploring, I bought 1,000 soccer balls, brought them back to the USA, sold them to Dick Fischers Sporting Goods, made a profit and ‘Things from Columbia’ was formed! Within a few months, Dave Sherman, a childhood friend, joined me and away we went! Fast forward, Dave kept the business going till 2010!
Upon my return to Naples, following my Columbia adventure, the spirit kept growing. Working in the restaurant world, first as manager of he Mill in Honeoye Falls then I created The Eagle’s Nest at Bristol Harbor in 1975. With my Sous Chef, Peggy (we married in 1976), we kept the curiosity and love of life going strong! Jaco Wine & Spirits allowed us to keep our Sheep, Goat & Veal Calf farm operating. The spirit & curiosity continues.
Then the unthinkable happened- Marvin Sands offered me a job to join his company. I was not sure this was a good idea but he agreed to let me try the job for 6 months. (I was not convinced I was ‘corporate material’). Well 6 months turned into 20 years of the continuation of curiosity and entrepreneurial spirit!