Blog #4

I had read the advertising books on “how to” and according to the powers that be, we would be getting huge amounts of mail from these press releases.  Some releases put in our phone number, but most put in our address.

We live in the small village of Endicott, NY,  population about 12,000.  We have 2 Post Offices.  Ours was the original, early 1900, very small, with a lobby of about 15′ x 20′ feet.  I suggested to JP to warn them that bags of mail would be coming in for our small company.

Every morning I busied our one home and business phone and walked quickly the three blocks to pick up our mail.  In the largest mailbox we could rent, 7″ x 5″ there sat 3 little letters.  Two from potential customers and a sales pitch for aluminizing the Palmer Industries Facility.  Was this the overflow from our bag of mail? I had seen “Miracle on 34th Street” and knew what bags of mail could hold.  Thank heavens JP had forgotten to warn the two elderly fellows that worked there every day.

The mail continued to trickle in and we sold a few attachable kits.  The majority of our sales seemed to come from word of mouth.  Jack had put one on his Mother’s adult trike in Florida where she lived and many people were stopping her on her rides around the park.

The literature we were sending out was not very selly.  JP being an engineer wanted to give all the specs we could fit on one page.  Being a slow learner, I was still reading the advertising books.

Blog #3

Here we are, pumped up for change and expecting new faces and ideas in Washington.

This schmuck was thrilled to get a call from the editor of the then weekly newspaper “Parade” which was tucked inside many Sunday papers every week.  What an exciting few days followed.  He wanted pictures, some proof of our business commitments and Federal Tax ID.  I had a wonderful (I thought) picture of my mom sitting on her used trike with our motor on it.  She was on the grass in front of her mobile home.  Some neighbors looked on.  We also sent a few other Polaroids of people testing our motor kits.  When the press release came out, it was the picture of  mom on her trike and everything else airbrushed out.  What a lot of work they had to do to take the hokeyness out of this Mom and Pop start up.  For a long time, we heard how disappointed her on-lookers were.  Our address was in the paper and we received many calls.  Not just that week, but for a couple of months.

Worked out so well, I mailed some more releases with pictures and Popular Science and Mechanix Illustrated picked it up.  Paul Harvey heard of us and mentioned us on his radio show.  We were the folks that invented electric attachable kits to do the pedaling for cyclists who could use a little help.

Blog #2

And what a journey this up, down, mobility roller coaster business is.  When Jack and I were discussing the adventure, I saw visions of a starched white blouse, covered by flattering tweed suit and practical 2″ patent leather shoes tucked under a swivel upholstered chair.  Sitting at my roll-top desk I speak with the media, vendors and customers on my private office French-Style telephone.

It all began in the cold cellar.  Our enthusiasm kept us warm.  My desk was one half of a 4′ x 8′ plywood sheet supported by paint splattered saw horses.  The remaining half was covered with cardboard boxes which JP dubbed “file cabinets” and a wide assortment of tools, washers, nuts, rolls of wires and junk. The office haute couture was sweat shirt, jeans and Keds for squishing those roly-poly bugs on the concrete floor.

It’s 37 years later.  This byte banger has come up in the world: exactly 12 wooden steps to the kitchen.  A Mac sits on my kitchen table next to the small floppy disc file cabinet, a printer, piles of to-do paperwork, some tools and junk.  We go out to eat now.  Into the front room, get out our TV trays and try balancing our meal on 2 wobbly fiberglass, tin legged trays.

As I pull my flannel shirt closed for warmth, I think of those days downstairs, when an order came in on my black dial up wall phone. Having spent all our savings on supplies to build the first PI product, attachable kits for bikes and trikes, there was nothing left for advertising them. We knew we had a much needed product.  It gave mobility to those unable to pedal.  Maybe a more important benefit, older or disabled people could cycle again.  But no one knew of this spiffy product.

Back we go to the library to learn about advertising.  We had brown bagged it at Cornell University to see if our patent was doable.  Delightedly, we found it was the first electric attachable kit for adult trikes.  It was quite an achievement but never put a penny in our pocket.

Mil-note: if you have interest in the unique, ask me later about the interesting patents I came across when I was supposed to be researching our design.

Sorry for all these digressions, but on this historic day, I keep running into the front room where Mr. Barack Hussein Obama is getting ready to become our 44th President. One of us has an engraved invitation to his inauguration.  Not telling who.

The advertising books weren’t that helpful. Statistics filled their pages with % of  profits to be spent on advertising etc., but one little book lured this novice down the path of freebie advertising.  I mailed 20 press releases to then prominent magazines. They were poorly written, no pictures and rather boring.  Having no letterheads at that time, they landed on the Editor’s desk mistyped on lined school paper.  What a schmuck.

And now forgive me but President Obama is about to speak and this curious American wants to hear his speech.  I’ll be back to continue my inaugural blog. (Originally published January, 2009)

The First Blog

I requested our talented webmaster to put a blog on our Website.  Be careful what you wish for, I can’t think of an original thing to say to anyone of interest or importance; but I had to have it.

I’ve read other business blogs to get a kick-start and if you’re having a technical problem with one of our products, don’t waste valuable time reading this.  All I know electrically is if you reverse the negative and positive wires on our attachable kits for bike or trikes, you’re gonna go down the street backwards.  My mechanical knowledge is more extensive. If you run our large all electric vehicles into something unmovable, you’ve probably bent the front fork, and have to buy another fork.  Been there, done that.  In fact,everyone that’s worked here at Palmer Industries, or the “Pie” as we call it, test rides the products.  It familiarizes us with what the customer on the phone is talking about and in my case makes, each a VIP product (Very Idiot Proof).  Of course the guys and gals that actually build them are quite expert at maneuvering the all electric scooters, especially on the 38% grade where they are tested.  Scary what those fearless pilots do! But I digress.

Another successful blog, according to the critique writers that be, is authored by one who states his qualifications for blog authorship. Degrees, awards, still climbing the corporate ladder; he is impressive.

I am old.  Maybe that’s enough!