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Syracuse’s own Bernie Bregman sits down with Matt Masur of Growth Mode Technologies to discuss his business experience that spans the better part of a century!
Check out Part 1 if you haven’t already!
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Bernie Bregman Part 2 S1E2 Growth Mode Conversations Podcast
hello and welcome my friends to the growth mode conversations podcast. We are so excited to bring you this new show. I’m Matt Masur founder and chief growth officer of growth mode technologies. Your local it department. We’re a different type of tech company. And while technology is our business, our purpose is growing businesses and helping our community.
And that’s what we’re doing right here with the growth mode conversations
podcast Each week we’ll interview a different local professional, learn about their life, and get some great advice on how we can all grow and succeed from their experience. The best thing you can do to participate is visit our website growth mode, tech.com and sign up for our news. In the newsletter, you’re going to get updates on this podcast with the latest episodes, you’re going to get some technology tips, some general business information and some events that might be happening in the community.
And of course, if you need technology services to grow your business, not just support it, but make it better. That’s what we do. Again, growth mode. tech.com is the place to be, but enough with the plugs and all that , let’s get into the show.
Hey guys. Welcome back to episode two. This is actually part two of our interview with Bernie Bregman. Bernie is just led the most incredible business life here in central New York. And he’s only halfway through telling us his background. I think you’re really going to enjoy the second half of the interview. Bernie’s got some incredible business advice, peppered through his incredible experience. I use the word incredible too much. I’m sorry, but forget about me. Let’s get back to Bernie right now. Thanks for listening.
what I ended up doing is I spent 11 years with Syracuse painting and barn. We created the hometown champ.
We had a figure that we put on our, our cans with a boxer with his, his hands up. That’s great. And when you were buying our paint, it was from. Local hometown champ and Jim McKechnie. Now, many of your people in the audience will remember him. He helped to create the ads. I used to buy ads on w N D R for a dollar a day, $365.
And you got to have an ad a 62nd ad every day during the year. Wow. And I used my, my skills from. Having graduated from the predecessor to new house, the school of journalism to get stories in the paper and get coverage. So whenever I, you could get anything, your own PR guy, I was always doing my own PR.
That’s great. And one of the things that happened while I was with Syracuse paint and varnish, I was at a home show and at the home show, someone approached me. And at the time he was doing junior billboards and he had met this woman granny who put on the home show and she introduced him to a tip club and, and a home show.
He came to me, he said, I want to start a tip club in Syracuse. And I said, sounds great to me. And 49 years ago, the tip club of Syracuse was formed. Next year, we will be celebrating 50 years. Wow. There’s still three of us that belong to the tip club. We meet at the Sheraton university. And any of your listeners and followers, if they reach out to us my cell phone is three one five.
4 3 0 5, 2 4 9. And if you belong to a category that we don’t have in the club, we have around 41 members and we’ve been meeting absolutely now for 49 years. And it’s an incredible organization. As a matter of fact, Matt, what was running this podcast? That’s how I met him and brought him in most of the members.
I’ve managed to, to bring in here over the years. I love bringing people in so that they can learn to network and networking to me is the key to success. The more organizations you can belong to and work with people like to buy from people they know. Sure. So tip club is one of the things that I would refer you to well, after 11 years, Being with Syracuse paint and varnish and ending up not having one retail store, but three retail stores.
Well, I I got to a point we used to borrow money from the bank every six months, we would go to the bank and sign our lives. And the only reason we were probably able to do it is because we had the guy from Sears Roebuck and it was his signature shirt that really meant the most. But what happened is it fell to me.
I was doing the marketing and the retail and not only selling paint, but wallpaper and all kinds of sundries. And what we discovered is we sold a lot of. But a lot of paint was sold at wholesale and a gallon of paint back then was like a 2 99 or something. And courses who was really what, maybe 4 99 hard to remember now.
But at any rate we put more titanium dioxide in the paint, which gives you coverage. So that you can cover your, your walls in one coat and instead of two coats, and that’s an expensive prog process, but we really had a better product than any of the major brands. And what I did is I got all the real estate companies at the time, Sutton real estate Egan real estate, and we would sell them paint.
We really didn’t sell it in enough of a margin. So, whereas we sold paint retail for 5 99, we were, we were selling it to them for, for 2 99 or something, maybe a dollar over our costs. And we ran into. With that. And I was in charge also of accounts payable, accounts receivable. And we, we had times when the the people that manufacture the paint on peach street often the next block off of Westmoreland, no, the chemists would have them sitting around just playing cards and I’d say, Why is it that they’re doing that?
Give them something to fix the place up or give them a half day off. And he said, well, that’s your fault because you haven’t, you haven’t sold enough paint. And so when I did go out and get a contract to sell paint to, to somebody like to the city of Syracuse, then he would come back to me and say, well, I don’t have enough money for raw material.
So it was a catch 22, finally, someday. I said, well, I have to take over and run this entire operation. And what he said is how can you do that? And I guess the other guy, the guy that had the money, who was an insurance man from Sears Roebuck, he sided with a chemist and I just walked away after 11 years.
And that’s when I walked. My way into the barter business barter is trading of goods and services. And we’ll have to talk to you more about that, Matt, because you have an opportunity with what you’re doing with your business to be a member of that. And when I did with that, I became a member of something called barter Mart, trading, a goods and services, a number of people in town.
But what a franchise out in New Jersey and with this franchise, what they would do is go and meet other people and network. And so they went to a clothing store and they went to a temporary agency. And so these people became members and instead of using cash, think of it like visa or MasterCard and you earn trading credits.
So you and I would trade I would trade for well, when I had Syracuse pain varnish, that’s when I became a member of this. So there’s somebody that had something like like the TV guide magazine that exists. It was somebody’s real fella named Richard . Who had RSG communications. He came to me and one me when I was with Syracuse bank varnish to advertise in his publication and take ads.
And I said, gee, I don’t have much money. And it’s because I was always chasing money to, to pay for the for the payroll and, and to pay national grid and others. And I said, but if you become a member of this trading exchange, Then I can, I can buy advertising from you and that’s what occurred. So I became a member and then later when I left Syracuse, Spain and varnish, I went to work and became the marketing director for trading exchange, which meant during the week I had to go out and find people because I’ve always worked on, on a commission basis.
So when I started the trading exchange, it was a great deal for them. If I charged the $180 to become a member, I got a hundred dollars out of it. So back then $300 a week was pretty good. And I had them sign up three, three members a week and I ended up doing that for 11 years. Wow. And then I ended up leaving that to go to work for something that’s called.
The center, New York business journal. And I spent 32 years with the center in New York business journal as their marketing director. And one of the things that I did as a member of tip club, and during that period of time, I also joined rotary, which is a service organization. And I’ll talk to you more about that too, because you might want to do that.
You joined. To do good in the community. You don’t do that for business purposes, but obviously it’s networking because if somebody knows what you’re doing so my motto is everybody is a prospect.
So when I was with the business journal and I called on somebody. Wanted Matt to advertise with me. I would talk to you about rotary because I would tell you that there are other things you could do besides advertising the business terminal, you become a member of rotary. You become a member of tip club.
You could become a member of sales and marketing executives, which is another organization that I’ve been with for over 50 years. Correct. And one of the things that time we have something called a crystal ball award. We give an award out to an outstanding man, woman or family. It’s called the crystal ball award and that’s been going on for 44 years.
Everything I belong to now is, is over 50 years. My synagogue, where I was president of congregation, Beth Shalom will be celebrating its 60th anniversary next year. And I will be a member for 60 years. I was the 13th family to join. Wow. So next year when I turned 90 tip club will be 50. My, my rotary club turned 60 years this year and I’m a member of that for 51 years.
So I encourage everyone. That’s listening to Matt show today. This podcast. Two again call me at (315) 430-5249. And I’ll be glad to educate you for free about tip clubs, about sales and marketing and about rotary. Is there anything you want to ask me about that? Well, here’s the thing, you know, most people I’ve got to kind of lead them through the the, the experience, but you are so well versed in telling your story and, and, and these types of things that you’ve answered.
So many questions along the lines. I think it’s been great. I know we’ve just barely scratched the surface but you’ve shared an incredible amount of wisdom so far. So you know, the one thing that, that I guess I would ask you in closing on, on this episode the thing that I think most people would, would ask, they would want to know you could have retired 30 years ago.
What are you still doing here out doing business, talking to people like me, Bernie? Well, I get energy. Every time I bring a new member into tip club or to rotary or to sales and marketing executives. And that feeds me. I, I guess I’m like a vamp. I just enjoy meeting new people and bringing them, bringing them along.
And my rotary club. As a matter of fact, there are 42 clubs in our district, 71 50 and over the last seven years with the 41 clubs, there are only six clubs that have gained membership and Eastwood. Rotary is one of them. I’m programmed. I’m membership chair. I didn’t even tell you about all the zoom meetings that I’ve had.
I have 50 meetings during the year that we do. And they’re exciting meetings. I’ll have the mayor on one week. I’ll have Frank Malfitano, who did the a M a T jazz festival for 34 years and is doing a mural down here. With four basketball players and I’ve been helping Frank Malfitano recently raise money so that he has enough money for the mural.
Be glad to talk to you. Any of you out there that want to help see the mural. So many things you’re involved in. It’s just incredible yeah. My wife says, why don’t you start relaxing, but I’m fed by, by the people I meet that’s that’s so great to hear and, and so encouraging to see I’m I am very lucky to have met you and, and have been brought into the tip club here, which by the way, is where we’re recording , this episode.
And I’m very excited to have done that. Bernie, thank you so much for sitting down and joining us here on the podcast. Like I said, this is going to be the first of many. And I think there’s so much more wisdom and just interesting experiences that you have to share that folks will love, which is exactly what we’re trying to do here.
So thank you so much, Bernie. I would say keep tuned in Matt’s program. I’m sure he’s going to have some wonderful people that he interviews and that you should. Sure in this experience, what a great plug. Thank you so much for that, Bernie. And we’ll see you next time.