Wonderful Lives

We took the family to see Madison’s production of “It’s A Wonderful Life,” the musical adaptation of Frank Capra’s film of the same name. You know the one, that one with Jimmy Stewart. It’s probably on a TV channel near you, right now. Or was, at least until last Saturday.

George Bailey, the main character, is a man who has many things of value but has lost sight of this for the moment. With some divine intervention, he is shown what the world would be like without him, and it’s not a pretty picture. So with this insight George finds his value in all that he’s contributed to the world around him. Seeing this story again got me thinking: What would my world be – for me – if others weren’t here? I can tell you, it wouldn’t be a pretty picture.

But more on that in a minute.


2010 was a challenging year. Let me rephrase that: 2010 was another challenging year. Being in small business means that all years are challenging, but these last three – 2008, 2009, and 2010 – were really in a class of their own. In each of these years, something that never happened before – a different something – happened just about every month. Or so it seemed.

But 2010 wasn’t really as bad as all of that. If anything, things seemed to normalize a bit. While a few things happened – bad things, hard things – that had never happened before, mostly we got on a more even keel when compared to the two years prior. And that was nice.

To tell you the truth, now that I think about it 2010 was actually a pretty darn good year. I mean this both by comparison to the other two, and just because. In 2010, we grew yet again, lowered expenses, made some vendors and dealers happy, and developed some new ways of doing things while debuting new products and services. We also had fun, and this – after all – is most important.

So, in retrospect, I actually liked 2010. It was a dang fine time to be in business. I mean, any time at all as long as it’s THIS time is a good time to be in business. It’s the only time we have, really – this time we have NOW – so we may as well embrace it, don’t you think?

And speaking of embraces: I have a few hugs to give for 2010. First, I’d like to thank the whole team at PEMBA – Bryan, David, Lori, Janice, Peter, Pete, and Steve – for all that they do. We’ve worked hard these past few years in making each one of us an integral and equal part of PEMBA, and we’ve done it. Likewise, we need to thank our other team members, too: Our landlords John, Judy, Bruce, and Andy at Delta, our accountants Rick and Chad at Rick Vanden Heuvel CPA, and Rob Stroud at Stroud Law; y’all rock. We really wouldn’t be here without any of you.

Second, I’d like to thank our dealers. We’ve all been on a wild journey together in this changing landscape, and we can’t imagine where we’d be without you. “Lost,” “broke,” and “broken” are three places that come to mind. We can’t find these places on a map, mind you, but that’s because we’ve never even come close to them, thanks to you.

Third, our vendors have really made our work easy (or perhaps just easier…) Every vendor left in our quiver took challenging times head-on, not just with resolve, but with a smile and a gleam in their eye that said “Bring it!” They debuted great new stuff for us to sell, developed new systems and ideas to help us sell it, and also took stock of the new topography in the world and found a place for us to be in it. So, thanks, thanks for that.

Next, we need to embrace our community. Our Facebook Friends, our Tweeps, those folks who read and contribute to this space here on our blog, what can we say about you? Well, for starters, we don’t know what we’d do without you. We didn’t know most of you two years ago, and now – well – there must be at least five of you. And a valued five – or so – you are. You make us laugh, you make us cry, you give us insights and feedback, and – plainly – you make working here in this modern age a lot more fun. And that’s important. So thank you, too.

And – finally – I need to send a personal shout-out to my family for your support in 2010. This starts with my brother Scott and his partner David, for supporting us when no one else would or could; to my brother-in-law Peter and his wife Ruth, who came into our household and into PEMBA, rolled up their sleeves, and said “what needs to be done?”; and last but most importantly I need to thank my wife Vera and our kids Emma, Misa, and John-Pio. You guys make it all worthwhile, and fun, too. (Did I mention the fun part? That’s the really good part.)

So as we enter 2011 and shake off the dust from 2010, let’s all remember to give thanks for those that brung us. George Bailey had it backwards, to a degree: It’s not what we’ve contributed to the lives of others, it’s what they contribute to ours, those are the things that we need to remember.

Yeah, okay, sometimes it’s the other way around, too. But  today, today we’re hearing bells, and those bells are ringing for all the little angels that earn their wings by helping PEMBA do what we do.

So, thanks to you, and your wonderful lives. We would be far less – and likely nothing – without you in our world.

We’ll see y’all in 2011.


Photo: Bells at Temple 11 – Sachin Ghodke

6 responses to “Wonderful Lives

  1. Dang. Those are some BIG bells on this little blog piece.

    Any of y’all got a better picture for this?


  2. Ah, that’s much better! Thanks David!

  3. I got skills.

  4. Thanks to PEMBA, who most definitely SERVES, but more often LEADS. You set the bar pretty damn high, even for a bunch of “older” climbers. From all of us down here at Erehwon Chicago, we’re grateful for your continued support and comradery. As far as rep agencies go, you certainly REPRESENT.

    Here’s to another enthusiastic year outside. See you on the water, frozen or otherwise.

  5. Thanks Colin,

    That’s certainly high praise, and much appreciated. All our best to you and yours tonight and in the coming year.


  6. What Colin said.

    And I agree…tough year, wonderful year.