Tribute Customer of the Quarter – Goldstein-Schwartz, Inc.
Our featured customer is located in the Midwest - headquartered in St. Louis to be exact. Goldstein-Schwartz, Inc. was founded in 1929 by Joe Goldstein and his brother-in-law Dave Schwartz. They started the business as junk dealers and the family jokes today about starting out as horse traders. But 1929 was a tough time to start any business and this one survived, primarily due to the two men that started it and their determination to sell what the public and other businesses would buy.
And what did that include? Rubber products from Goodyear in Akron and Gates products from Denver, and Mr. Goldstein made personal trips to secure it! When World War II made it hard to find metal, the company gravitated more heavily into the rubber hose business. When Joe’s two sons returned from the war, one went into the business directly, the other went to school. However, the second son soon found that he wanted to be in the family business as well and left school, never looking back. Time passed and the grandsons joined the business – Mark in 1970, David in 1972, Rand in 1975, Bruce in 1975 and Michael in 1977. The Ft. Lauderdale branch opened in 1974 and a Cincinnati branch in 1979. The Cincinnati branch closed in 1997 and Bruce passed away in 2003.
Despite the changes, the family business continues to grow and prosper. The fourth generation joined the St. Louis office April 1, 2008 with the hiring of Emily Goldstein, the first female family member to come in. Emily is starting in purchasing but wants to learn the whole business – as her father Michael says, “She’s going to start at ground level with the parts and work her way up”.
Many of you know Michael Goldstein as the president of the Tribute® User’s Group for 2007 and 2008. Michael tells me he was not really sure what the position meant when he was voted into the office. But he sure has had “a great time doing it”. As he says, “I’ve met and talked to people I normally would not have had any contact with. I’ve gotten to go to Program Review, and it’s been very interesting and educational. I recommend everyone sit in on Program Review!” As for the TSUG presidency? He worked with Nancy Baxter and Kim Poncer (of Fluid Power Products, Inc.) to find the Baltimore location of the 2007 meeting. “I’m impressed with how much of the TSUG work is done by Nancy and the other Tribute employees.” He recognizes how the behind the scenes work makes the event what it is. Michael’s successor will be elected at the 2008 TSUG meeting in Cuyahoga Falls, OH (August 13-15).
Goldstein-Schwartz, Inc. has been an Alpha/Beta software test site for the past 4 releases. “I’ve had as much fun being an Alpha site as being president of TSUG! Finding the errors, seeing the expressions when something works - or doesn’t. The excitement of getting a release first and working closely with Tribute on the testing. It’s fun!”
When I asked his opinion of Tribute in his business he quickly responded, “Tribute is invaluable! The software is always on the cutting edge. It’s incredible the insight Tribute has into the business”. While he recognizes that they don’t use everything Tribute has available, what they use is “extremely valuable to us”. As with any business owner, the Goldsteins have other things to worry about than software, “Tribute has made my life easier, and it’s worth it.” They recently purchased a new server and are impressed with the speed. “My recommendation, don’t wait 5 or 6 years to update!” Michael says that comparing the old server to the new one is like “a turtle versus Speed Racer, it’s unbelievable.”
My final question to Michael was if he had anything he would like to say to the readers. His response - “Consolidation is making competition stronger. You need to save money and become more efficient. Software will accomplish that. Tribute stays on the cutting edge with monthly tune-ups. Not every software company does that for their customers. We spent a lot of money up front with our software but it’s satisfying to know that this is another piece (of the business) running smoothly”.