This is a story of a teenage city boy who learned an early lesson in door-to-door sales and running a little produce business.
I know it may be difficult to imagine this but there was a working farm next to the Stephan Crane Village housing project where I grew up in the city of Newark.
It was a plus since the owner of the farm was “sort of related” to my mom's parents – that old Italian "gumba" relationship. His name was Andy Maglio. He had dairy cows and grew vegetables on the farm. He drove through the housing project selling vegetables from his truck. However, as he grew older he sold the cows and stopped growing crops. It was just too much work.
But he still sold vegetables – only now he made trips to the farmer’s market in the section of Newark known as "Down Neck" and bought the goods.
That worked out well for my friend Gary and myself because Andy enlisted our help to deliver the veggies. Lucky for us, we even got paid. Not only that, Andy suggested we take some of our earnings and go with him to the farmer's market and buy cases of produce for ourselves and sell it door to door.
Imagine that! Andy was setting us up to run our own business even though we were actually taking business away from him. We rode with him to the market, purchased the produce, whether it was lettuce, carrots, celery, or tomatoes and then walked door-to-door in the project selling the vegetables.
All through the summer and into fall we continued our little business. It was great. The people in the neighborhood looked forward to us every weekend.
Another lesson in life: two young boys in free enterprise, helped by an unselfish, kind-hearted gentleman.
by Lance L. Casper
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