My dad played cards with a man by the name of Carlton Klein who owned the Perma Bench Company, an outdoor advertising bus bench company with four hundred benches in the Toledo area. Mr. Klein wanted to retire and sell the business, and my dad thought it was a perfect business for me. The sales price was $20,000; I didn’t have that kind of money—I was just twenty-one years old. I thought about it overnight and decided to pursue it. I went to the bank with dad, Ohio Citizens made the loan; I was in business and eighteen thousand dollars in debt.
I converted our two-and-a half-car garage into a sign shop, and made an adjustable drawing board and benches for silk screening. A rented storage space and workshop on Prouty St. off Broadway near my former grade school, St. James, came with the business. My mother did my billing and kept track of the finances; my brother Jim did my taxes. I hired my retired Uncle Art to repaint all the benches a medium gray; they had been neglected for a long time.