. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Joe Tatulli Part 1
The Glasser Group: A Unique Company, A Unique Product, A Unique Plan
I have this friend named Jeff. Jeff knows cars. I can still remember the time we went to look at a used pick-up truck that I was interested in. Jeff got in, started it, looked under the hood, and crawled under the running vehicle. He asked the owner a couple of questions, turned the motor off and checked the oil. He then took a socket wrench out of his pocket, pulled a plug and examined it. After the examination we walked away from the owner and talked. Jeff said, "Offer the guy two grand and don't go over twenty-two hundred. The truck isn't worth more than that." The guy was asking $3000. I bought the truck for $2100.
Jeff is now the manager of the "previously owned" division of a very large, East Coast new car dealer. He doesn't pull plugs anymore. His skills are legendary in the Southern New England area and beyond. Jeff can intuitively determine the wholesale and retail value of almost any used car that comes through his lot. He is a natural. He is, "The Man"!
Stu Glasser is a natural too. He has the uncanny ability to understand and make the deal. He can read the lay of the land, he seems to be able to intuitively understand costs and pricing from the factory to the retail floor, and he is a salesman's salesman, able to pick a winner and make all the right moves. The Glasser Group is his invention and it has been able to harness the biggest and best horses in the trade.
I was born in the Bronx," said Stu Glasser. We spoke of many things during my visit to Tampa, the city he now calls home, along with his wife, best friend, and business partner Linda. "I grew up in St. Albans, Queens. My dad and all my uncles were in the glass business."
Glasser had just picked me up at the airport and it was time for lunch. He asked me where I wanted to eat. I gave him my typical answer, "Take me to your favorite lunch place," I said. Ten minutes later I was enjoying a corned beef ruben at a deli, and if it hadn't been seventy-five degrees outside with palm trees in the parking lot, I would have thought I was in Manhattan. Glasser enjoyed a bowl of matzoh ball soup.
"I learned all about futon business from my father Sol," Glasser said. His dad was in the auto glass business. "My father was an entrepreneur when being an entrepreneur wasn't heard of," he said. His dad moved the family to Stratford, Connecticut where Glasser grew up.
We left the restaurant and headed to the office. While we drove he told me about his early days in the waterbed business.
"My first venture was a small shop in Hartford. It was 1969. I was young and aggressive, a typical entrepreneur, like my dad. We carried leather goods, hand bags, moccasins, tie-dyed t-shirts, books, incense, oils and underground comics."
The small store, similar in character to many early futon specialty stores, even carried a small amount of furniture. "We even had some furniture - bean bag chairs. But the most important thing we had was marketing. This was the beginning of 'Progressive Rock Radio' and we owned the air waves. I did over three quarters of a million dollars out of 900 square feet my first year," Glasser said.
Things continued to go well and Glasser's success increased by leaps and bounds. "Being an entrepreneur is not something you learn. You are on a road and you move along that road. Along the way things happen and you decide to go one way or the other. I felt my way along and met with phenomenal success," he said.
continued on next page