Son of a Shoemaker
I am the son of a third generation Shoemaker. My great grandfather arrived at Ellis Island having left his wife and children behind because they couldn't afford passage for everyone. He worked on the streets of New York City repairing shoes out of a box until he could save up enough money for passage for his family.
They moved to Seattle and established his own shoe repair shop where he taught his son the trade. My grandfather later did the same with my father, and he with me. I spent evenings after school and Saturdays in the back of the family store, polishing shoes, grinding soles and heels and cleaning up after everyone. My older brother now runs my father's store where his 3 kids have all learned the trade and my nephew works full time.
There is a sign in that shop which has been there as long as I can remember, it says, "The sweetness of low price is forgotten, long after the bitterness of poor quality remains." No other slogan has stuck with me in this business or any other that I've worked in. As discount brokerages and limited service companies compete for our business claiming "full service, not full commissions." I think of that sign and wonder; if I could do 3 times the volume I do, inclusive of all the services I offer, for the same income, would I? I suppose I could help more people; I do consider my work a public service and not just a job. But in reality the quality of what I do would suffer greatly. I am not a volume Realtor. I handle a few listings at a time, a few buyers at a time and devote lots of energy and effort to each one. I am constantly learning new aspects of our business trying to improve my knowledge base and the quality of my services. In the end, my hope and expectation is my clients will feel they got my best and were served well and that the quality will be appreciated.
This picture was taken around 1978. Seated, my grandfather Chick Sr. is on the left, my brother Chris, then My father, mother and me.
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