a guy worth listening to!!?
Sold off his building supply empire! Late '50s, in his early 20's....what does one do for an encore??
He went off to University of Florida and he asked the professor's This was 1949 Hey, I gotta move to Florida. Where do you think is the fastest growing area of Florida and what do you think? Is that thing that is the fastest growing? And they said Central Florida, Orlando, and they said building so he sells his business. Why am I started building supply? My name is Brooklyn. When we moved there was 100,000 people in Orlando, Florida. Give me a check. That gives me a million dollars after taxes in the stores are yours.
Jeff Sterns connected through cars, if they're bigwigs, we'll have him on the show. And yes, we'll talk about cars and everything else. Here he is now, Jeff Sterns.
My dad had a building supply company called Brooklyn building supply in Central Florida and it was the biggest buildings to buy in Central Florida. He was a farrier in Philadelphia. When I was 10 years old. His father was a courier in Philadelphia, that's why he was 10 years old. He got sick. And the doctor said doctor said you need warm weather. So they came to Florida. And he we were on a beach enjoying the beach. And he went off to University of Florida, and he asked the professor's This was 1949. Hey, I gotta move to Florida. Where do you think is the fastest growing area of Florida? And what do you think, is that thing that is the fastest growing and they said Central Florida, Orlando. And they said building. Now he was a furrier.
He starts a little building supply in Central Florida. And he grew and grew and grew and grew. Now I'm in college, I'm in my second year of college, he decides he's selling. So he sells his business with a one year non compete. I'm in college. I'm there and I don't know what I'm there for. I'm just there because it's a good time. And I happened to meet my first wife there. And I decided I better pay attention now. I gotta go out and I just assume I go to work for him or something. So I said, Well, wait a second. Why am I started building supply. My name is Brooklyn. I'll go hire his best salesman. His name is jack crane has named the company crane is Bricklin. And I set the curve in logic. So I logically determined I didn't need college anymore. So I quit college, got together with drag started my business. Now, the beat the builders thought I was really my dad, or my dad was behind me. And the suppliers thought the same thing. So it wasn't like I wasn't I wasn't taking advantage, it was 100% taking advantage. If I didn't have those advantages, I couldn't have done anything. My salesmen sold everything. The supplier has sold it to me, the builders book because they couldn't have been better. And my dad honored his agreement for one year, didn't have to do anything about telling me anything except introduce me to some people if I needed an introduction. So I'm now in the building supply business, what year is what year 19 1950 1958. What was going on in Central Florida in 58. I mean, I live on the Clearwater side. So what we houses is fast building houses as fast as you can build. Okay, so it wasn't like Disney stuff. It was it was way before Disney for Disney. But they were building like crazy. Everywhere they were they were building. That's what was happening to Orlando, when we moved, there was 100,000 people in Orlando, Florida. Oh my god. So you can imagine how fast it was building to where it's planted anyhow, it was there was a problem with that. Everything was going good. I learned stuff I never thought I would learn in a million years. And I would notice a guy would go out and decide he's going to build 100 houses, 90 houses, I got paid on time, when I was 10. I didn't get paid. And you never know when the last 10 was coming. I didn't like that at all. I said, I am never getting into business when I'm giving somebody credit. Unless I'm a bank. That's just a bad taste in my mouth to not trust the people you're doing business because it became part of the game. They built the houses in the past and they didn't pay anybody. They took their money and went to the next project and you sold them because they were going to build another couple of 100. And it was only the end that was going to get screwed. You just didn't know where the end is. So I determined I'm not going to happen. I don't want I don't like this. At the same time. things were happening like 711. They were open seven to 11, seven days a week. And instead of a big supermarket, they had a little supermarket. So they had a lot of little items. But they had very little backup inventory. And I'm sort of in the building supply business, but I also see the hardware. And I go into a hardware store. They got millions of items, and they got inventory like you can't believe which is a lot of money investment in inventory. So I mean, a normal hardware store could have at that time had like $150,000 with the stuff or more. I said wait a second. How about if I build a cool little place? It's open 99 seven days a week I call it handyman. And I make the inside walls with the perforated things, I put everything up on there. But I only have enough stuff for two days supply. So if I sell a box of nails in a day, I have two boxes. If I have two locks until a week, I have one lock, and on and right, and then back it up with an IBM punchcard. ibm had come out now with these punch cards. That was the new thing. And I put in a whole floor of these machines. And all it did was it took the cards and put them in an order that was in my warehouse and printed out. That's what they did. But every store had a whole thing of cards. So every time they sold a hammer, they took a card out, my truck came around and picked up those cards for the day and dropped off yesterday stuff. So they needed $10,000 worth of inventory instead of a couple $100,000 worth of inventory. And then I started franchising it and it did really good. I was enjoying it. And we were building stores and I was franchise to come out. And there used to be built up a couple in Connecticut and then a couple in LA. And then I met a man that owned Dixie paint varnish company in Georgia. And he wanted to sell me paint with the handyman label, which I loved. And we did. And we sold them out of paint. He loved it. And he would fly in his airplane, not a jet, they didn't have jets then fly his airplane and pick me up and we'd go back to Georgia and have shrimp or some stats, if any fly me back there. And he was really happy. And one day came to me says, You know, I like to turn your stories into more paint stories. And that's everything else. And I said, Well, this is the formula that work and I'm not judging it. I mean, I buy more if you want me to buy more, and we'll, we'll focus it more but I'm not turning into a paint store. So instead of having a plan, buy out, and I said well, at the time I was about 20 and I had made a statement to my world. I'm gonna be a millionaire by the time I'm 21. So I said to him, give me a check. That gives me a million dollars after taxes in the stores are yours. And he did. Now he was a millionaire. And now and I read I got to realize how money is the least amount of impact maybe a drawback because now I was afraid to do anything because I'd have to spend my money.
This has been Jeff Sterns connected through cars.