86.1 F
Los Angeles
Friday, Jun 24, 2022

Weekly Briefing: Brothers Stay Sharp in Long-Term Partnership

Brothers Stay Sharp in Long-Term Partnership

David Greenberg

Richard Wattenberg and his brother Allen have been business partners since they opened a downtown hamburger stand more than 40 years ago. They took a two-year hiatus when Allen was drafted into the Army in the mid-1960s and Richard sold the burger business. He took the proceeds and put a down payment on Ross Cutlery and Sharpening Service, already a 35-year-old downtown business. Richard decided to keep the original name to leverage the customer base, which generates $700,000 to $800,000 in annual revenues.

“We became partners again when (Allen) got out of the Army, after two years. From a business standpoint, it showed the potential to make a good living. We sell a lot of different things: beauty, barber, butcher and chefs’ supplies and equipment. We also sell hunting knives and a tremendous number of pocketknives. We have at least 5,000 different items. But we’re always looking for new items from the major companies we buy merchandise from. It’s kind of like a men’s toy store.

“The beauty and barber supplies and tools are the biggest part of our business overall maybe 60 percent of our total business. Mostly it’s electric clippers, hair-cutting scissors, and all (cutting) items related to barber and beauty shops. We also do an extremely large business in repair fixing and sharpening the tools.

“In electric clippers, we have at least 50 different types in all of the major brands. We must have on display over 1,000 pocket knives alone in different shapes, sizes and brands. They (range) from something made in China to hand-made pocketknives by famous knife makers. You’d think they are made out of gold.

“We have five employees. Our business is very steady all year long. It maybe goes up 10 percent from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

“We’re in a pretty busy area, across the street from the Grand Central Market, so we get a lot of foot traffic. A tremendous amount of people come in to browse.

“From about 1965 through 1985, we did a lot of advertising on local television, mostly to the Latin public. But it got too expensive for us. The stations we advertised on got to be like the major (English-speaking) stations. Now we advertise in the yellow pages and sometimes in the newspapers.

“At least 50 percent of our business are repeat customers. We sell a lot of unusual items and when people buy them, they show them to their friends and family.”

David Greenberg

Featured Articles

Related Articles