Before founding Charles River Apparel, I started my career in 1948, upon graduating college, in my family's business – The Central Steel Supply Co. in Cambridge, MA. At that time, the Central Steel was in serious financial condition. Bankruptcy proceedings were being considered and the fo
ur family owners offered to sign over all ownership to me. At twenty-two years old and having only $1,100 in the bank, what did I have to lose? First off, I contacted our local banker, Mr. Carlson, to arrange a meeting, and I had our accountant prepare me with an up-to-date financial statement. This meeting proved to be the most memorable and important event in all of my 60 years in business. Mr. Carlson gave me a chance and because, as he later told me, I demonstrated four key characteristics that were important to him in making an evaluation of a prospective customer. Since that date, I have adopted the same four standards when interacting with customers, suppliers, advisors and especially employees – work ethic, honesty, sincerity and competence.