My Young Working Career  

My First Small Business Startup at Age 11

First Business Startup at 11 years old

As I may have mentioned before my family did not have a lot of money when I was growing up. This encouraged me to earn money at a very early age.  I recall delivering the Owen Sound Suntimes six days a week. I recall at the time the paper was 8 cents a copy of 45 cents for a week. I received about $2.00 a week for delivering about 50 papers a day.

When I was about 11, I started my own small business.  I read an advertisement in the paper to retail light bulbs door-to-door. The light bulbs were marketed as being sold only by students and advertised as lasting five years. However I didn't have the money to order bulbs in advance so I went door-to-door asking people to buy bulbs and pay me in advance for their order.  Surprising enough there were a large number of trusting people in those days and I collected about $35.00 to place my first order for which I profited about $5.00. It turned out to be a very profitable business for me. The image on the right is the cover of the order book I used to collect the orders.

I had a number of part-time jobs when I was young. When I was about 14, I started my first 'real' job at the Seldon Hotel where I carried guests bags, delivered room service and on the weekends managed the front desk at night. Later I worked for Olive McDonald's Flowers delivering flowers on my bike after school and working in the store. Then I worked for Tamblyn's Drug Store delivering orders on my bike and stocking shelves in the store.

I also had a number of summer jobs when I in high school. My first job was at the Riverside Motel, Restaurant and Gas Station in Southampton which was about a 30 minute drive from Owen Sound. Because I couldn't go home during the summer I pitched my tent behind the restaurant where I lived for the summer.  I started this summer job during the summer following grade nine and worked cleaning rooms in the motel and pumping at the gas station. At that time all gas stations were full service and gas sold for 52 cents a gallon.

I worked at Riverside for two summers then worked at the Beach Bowling Alley where I had a multiple of jobs.  This was an old Bowling alley so all pins were set by hand. So I worked as a pin setter, which was dangerous at times when intoxicated bowlers often threw balls down before you had a chance to get out of the way.  I also worked as a short-order cook making hot dogs, hamburgers and fries in the snack bar and I clean the alleys every morning.  Once again I pitched my tent in the backyard where I stayed all summer.

When I was 17, I found my final pre-navy job at a local company that owned 10 corner stores and marketed orange juice both locally and in the surrounding communities. I made local delivers in a small van and drove a 5-ton truck to pick up orders in Toronto and deliver them to the local municipalities from Barrie, Collingwood in the East to Kincardine, Port Elgin in the West.

In total, not counting my small business selling light bulbs, I worked at six different businesses while attending high school before dropping out and joining the Navy to see the world.



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