Crayola became our first company to deal with.
Like most big companies that get approached by a start-up, Crayola wouldn’t give us credit. But they did come up with an interesting program.
All we had to do was send them $2,500 to start our account. (That wasn’t real easy. You see, our total start-up cost was $500. So coming up with 5 times that amount was taking a bit of a stretch.)
As we had things sent to us, Crayola would deduct that from our account until we were almost at zero. Then, another $2,500 was needed.
It’s time to step back a little at this point. In 1993, Terri was working as a group leader in the outpatient department of St. Joseph’s hospital. Her schedule had her working second shift 2 days a week for one week and then 3 days the following week. It didn’t bring in much income but it provided health insurance.
My only source of income came from an interesting place. In 1986 I became a partner in a small company, Station WVCR. We had a vending machine for VHS tapes. We were the forerunner of the Red Box, just 25 years early!
We ended up closing the business as Blockbuster became the major force for renting tapes. We couldn’t afford to keep up with the number of new release copies they provided and eventually had to close our doors.
Our main benefactor, Bill Kesselman, was the financial loser, close to $500,000. Yet, as I’ll write about in the future, he became one of the best mentors I’ve ever had.
I kept the tapes and started a small service, placing films in grocery stores (without the vending machine) and shared in the rental profits. That was now my way of earning a living.
It was tough but we held together for another 5 years before Terri could come on full time. In the meantime, I was the “missionary”, traveling across SE Wisconsin, talking to principals and parent groups about School-Pak.
It was a new concept then and it was pretty difficult getting schools to sign up. Yet a lot did and now we had another problem.
School-Pak outgrew our house!
To be continued.