I hadn’t seen Marty in a few weeks, not since his restaurant failed. The news had left me sad. It’s never fun to watch a hard-working fellow lose not only his money, but also his dream. Fortunately, he still had his base business: a small tavern, with quarters upstairs for him and his wife. But I suspect his debt load was onerous.
I also suspect he sulked a bit, took a little time to lick his wounds. I know I did when my ill-fated Jimmy Buffet retail store on St. Thomas went south a few years ago. But that’s another story.
As for Marty, when I saw him the other day, I was surprised for two reasons: First, he was wearing a UPS uniform, making a delivery to my home. It actually took me a second to recognize him, until I caught his smile. And that’s the second thing that surprised me — his big, lopsided grin as he greeted me. That grin said, “Oh, I’m fine. Not what I had in mind for this Christmas season, but I’m still standing.”
That glimpse, that one moment, to me epitomized the true entrepreneurial spirit. No Washington bailout for Marty, but also no whining, no complaining, no public sulking.
That’s why Marty wins my entrepreneur-of-the-year award for 2009. (Sorry, Marty, no cash to go with it.) All guys like him ask is a chance, not a guarantee. I know he invested a lot of money and sweat equity into that restaurant. He took a chance, and the perfect storm clobbered him.
And that’s the way it goes. I’m not even going to say he will be back. That’s because, with his great attitude, he already is. Congratulations, Marty our Freestyle Entrepreneur of the year!
As always, work hard. Make money. Have fun. — John R. Ingrisano
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