If I asked you to imagine someone who was the 10th of 12 kids raised in a Yonkers housing project, or someone who’d worked odd jobs as a young boy just to keep his family in their $62-a-month apartment atop a Brooklyn butcher shop, or someone who literally was digging ditches to stay out of trouble while most of his peers were turning to a life of drugs, you’d likely conjure up images of downtrodden individuals leading hopelessly disadvantaged lives. Yet the first person referenced is today one of our county’s most venerated chefs and restaurateurs, the second has become a sports-industry icon whose last name is synonymous with merchandising and memorabilia, and the third is now a Columbia MBA with a thriving local business of his own. These, and the stories of eight other county entrepreneurs, comprise this issue’s cover story: “How I Did—Tales of Unexpected Success” (page 40). In this dispiriting economic climate, it’s heartening to witness the ultimate triumph of some of our neighbors against what were, in some cases, incredible odds—and a welcome reminder to all of us that tenacity, drive, and focus can go a long way in realizing one’s professional dreams.
Even the most prosperous businesspeople profiled in our cover story haven’t escaped the effects of the intractable Great Recession. In these tough times, cold, hard cash is an especially precious commodity for companies—to the point where, as our “Zeitgeist” story on page 120 details, some have dabbled in B2B bartering to obtain their needed goods and services in order to minimize overhead.
Most successful entrepreneurs will tell you that the only capital more vital to a business’s success than the monetary kind is the human form. While they take on various sizes and dimensions, human resources departments are tasked with developing, maintaining, and optimizing a company’s staff. No surprise, then, that the HR department is also the place where things can go horribly awry. On page 52, we consult with the experts to show you how to avoid some of the biggest HR blunders.
If all this talk of cash crunches and HR headaches has you feeling a little verklempt, don’t despair—I’ll give you a new topic: Why not get away from it all at one of the charming, cozy inns featured in our story on luxe B&B escapes (page 128). Whether your idea of a good time is hitting the slopes outside or nursing a hot toddy inside—or even meditating and doing yoga in your very own tatami room—there is bound to be a destination suitable for you (and one no more than a few hours’ drive from Westchester). Now talk amongst yourselves (and be sure to pack your scarf and gloves while you’re at it).
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