Gaining a Foothold

By Hannah Wallace May 31, 2005

C.J. Fishman is president of Fishman & Associates, Inc., a Venice-based designer and installer of commercial kitchens for restaurants, hotels, country clubs and schools through the United States and internationally. Fishman is on the advisory boards of the Salvation Army, Success by Six, All Faiths Food Bank and Sarasota County's Tourism and Economic Development Board, and is past president of the Venice Area Chamber of Commerce.

"When I was 15 I got a job selling women's better shoes at Cole's Shoe Store in Cleveland, and I did that all the way through high school. I wore a suit and tie to work every day. I remember it was $1.50 an hour or 7-percent commission, whichever was higher at the end of the week. I always made commission, even though the highest-priced shoe we sold was $10.99. I figured if I could sell women's shoes, I could sell anything.

"The money I made was my spending money, but every week I took some of it to the bank, and I do that religiously even to this day. I was taught it doesn't matter what I saved for, just that I saved it.

"I learned that it didn't matter if it was my first job or not, it was somebody's career. How I presented myself, how strong my work ethic was, what my commitment to the job was-mattered. I was taught you give a minimum 120 percent when you're on the job, and that value has always stayed with me."

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