Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Bookstore Stories (2) Entrepreneurs are born that way, even after two grim November 17ths…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Gritty Katzman Chicago Stories,My Own Personal Hell,Retail Purgatory — Bob at 12:45 pm on Saturday, November 17, 2018
November 17th? Here is my definition of being an Entrepreneur: On Nov 17, 1985, seven weeks after my first attempt to go into the back-issue magazine business-then common in the United States, now three decades later, almost extinct–two months after Bob’s Newsstand in Hyde Park closed after 20 years, the space I rented on Lasalle & Kinzie Streets in Downtown Chicago went up in flames, leading to 2 years of unemployment. Thousands of ancient periodicals collected by me over the decades going back to the Thirties, gone forever.
Then in 1988, after some misadventures attempting to work for other people–for me, a totally foreign country–I acquired a then dusty and obscure foreign language bookstore at Clark and Belmont. I didn’t speak any other language, but that didn’t seem to me to be such a big hurtle to overcome.
In three years, I triple the sales, but then three large bookstore chains arrived in Lakeview, killing all six small local and diverse bookstores, including mine on Nov. 17, 1994. 100 languages in tape and dictionary form, 1,000s of world maps, flags from 230 different countries, gone.
However, because I never wanted to face unemployment and strange personalities again, I reopened another back-issue magazine store in the northern suburbs in 1990 as a backup plan, and that enterprise, initially managed by my father, lasted until 2016, when I closed it to care for my wife, Joyce.
A guy doesn’t last for 26 years of creativity and imagination creating a unique source of gifts and research by accident.
55 years after my first self-employment in 6th grade in 1962, I believe Entrepreneurs don’t see down. They only see up, and anything else is a temporary situation interrupting their determination to be successful.
Wish I could teach about this in a class, somewhere, using my two autobiographical books as textbooks.
Young entrepreneurs need to know a lot if they intend to be on their own. Takes more than guts to take a chance.
It can be very cold out there. Bet I could answer a lot of questions about grit and things which no longer exist.
Even at 68, my entrepreneurial gene continuous to pulse.
Hope lives.
November 17th reminds me of that, every year.
(Bookstore Stories (1) On Turning Away Hate)
Bookstore Stories (1) On Turning Away Hate…by Robert M. Katzman
Publishing News!  Bob Katzman’s two new true Chicago books are now for sale, from him! Vol. One: A Savage Heart  and Vol. Two: Fighting Words Gritty, violent, friendship, classic American entrepreneurship love, death, heartbreak and the real dirt about surviving in a completely corrupt major city under the Chicago Machine. More history and about one man’s life than a person may imagine. Please visit my new website: https://www.dontgoquietlypress.com If a person doesn’t want to use PayPaI, I also have a PO Box & I ship anywhere in America. Send me a money order with your return and contact info. I will get your books to you within ten days. Here’s complete information on how to buy my books: Vol 1: A Savage Heart and Vol. 2: Fighting Words My books weigh almost 2 pounds each, with about 525 pages each and there are a total together of 79 stories and story/poems. Robert M. Katzman Don’t Go Quietly Press PO Box 44287 Racine, Wis. 53404-9998                                                                                                                    (262)752-3333, 8AM–7PM Books cost $29.95 each, plus shipping For: (1)$3.95; (2)$5.95; (3)$7.95; (4)$8.95 (5)$9.95;(6) $10.95 (7) $11.95; (8) $12.95; (9)$13.95 (10)$15.95 (15)$19.95 Shipping by air to most of Europe, due to the weight of my books is $99.00 I am also for hire if anyone wants me to read my work and answer questions in the Chicago/Milwaukee area. Schools should call me for quantity discounts for 30 or more books. Also: businesses, bookstores, private organizations or churches and so on. My Fighting Words Publishing Co. four original books, published between 2004 and 2007 are now out-of-print. I still have some left and will periodically offer them for sale on my new website.  My hour-long story reading at WGTD 91.1 NPR Kenosha, Wis is now a podcast. The interview and story can be heard here:
Speaking of Our Words – June 30th, 2017 With special guest star and featured writer Bob Katzman. Bob reads his memoir, “Audrey, Pink Bunny Slippers, Her Cat and the God’s Eye” and talks about his w…   Your comments are welcome, below, and please tell others I can be found here as a writer. I can also be hired as a speaker for organizations, etc, both here and in Europe. Seeking an agent. robertmkatzman@gmail.com Poet & Storyteller for hire for organizations, schools or private events   www.DifferentSlants.com to view recent and older examples of my work 847.274.1474     Attachments area Preview YouTube video Speaking of Our Words – June 30th, 2017
Speaking of Our Words – June 30th, 2017


Comment by Donald Larson

November 17, 2018 @ 1:38 pm

Hi Bob,

I also know the long entrepreneurial path. You have told the essentials of what many will face as they take up working for themselves.

Keep telling your stories. People do listen and respond. They do moreso when they find themselves in a similar boat.

Warmest regards,


Comment by Scott Dechter

November 17, 2018 @ 3:06 pm

Hey Bob- I remember that store in the northern burbs I visited you there a couple of times and remember of how jealous I was that you had all that cool stuff, I collected different things but could never keep it together. For my bar -mitzvah I got an uncirculated $3 gold piece S mint it was worth $11. Today it is 60-90 thousand of course I don’ t have it.Didn’t you have the stand at the I C station I remember visiting you there and the weather sucked.You do have a lot of guts and I know you from way back
Liked the story and always liked the stores
Your friend Scott (hope to see you sooner than later)
ps -sorry about misspellings and double letter but my shoulders are having a very bad day

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