From the American Scene: The Bakery Store Lady
When I saw Sam Stone in Chicago recently he asked me how my mother was, and when I told him she had died several months ago he stared at me for a moment and then said softly, “She was the sharpest businesswoman I ever met.”
Sam should know. I suppose that Ma gave him as hard a time as she did any salesman. In the days when our bakery was zooming along the heights of its greatest prosperity, it seemed as though every bakery commodity salesman in Chicago visited our store regularly. Most Jewish bakeries were risky enterprises; the proprietor was invariably a bread baker who had either ambition or an ambitious wife, who had scrimped together a few dollars so he could “go in for myself.” He labored eighteen hours a day, baking and selling, and with no business knowledge other than baking, went broke after a few months or a year, and then returned to working for some other baker. As soon as he accumulated a little capital he would begin casting around for another bakery and the cycle would recommence.
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