Posted by StreetWise in Vendor Profiles
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Humboldt Park, right by Division and California. It was a very Polish neighborhood at the time. We were the outsiders.
What brought you to StreetWise?
I was vendor, we called it a “hustler”, for the Sun-Times and the Tribune. I used to do street corners and sell in traffic, between cars. I was looking for work in 1998, and they just gave me papers and told me to sell them. They wanted me to go in between the cars, and I said “Hell no! Not me! I’m not getting my butt ran over!” But I needed to sell papers, so I dared myself to do it. I did that for about 8 years. When the Sun-Times got into some trouble, my sales started to fall. I went from making money to just pennies. Someone then told me to look into StreetWise. I wasn’t making any money selling Sun-Times and Tribune, so I thought it wouldn’t hurt. I came in 2012 to orientation three times before I got it. I felt it was the same thing as selling the other papers, so I had some experience. I like selling StreetWise and being my own boss.
Where do you sell StreetWise?
I sell on Adams and Wells. I have been selling there ever since I started here. I work the AM, lunch shift, and afternoon shift every day.
What are your strategies for selling the magazine?
I am there every day. Consistency. I try to tell jokes, or give them something out of the ordinary. I smile too, they love the smile! This lady one time gave me $10 and told me it was just because she liked my smile! You have to stay on it, you can’t stop for one second.
What do you like most about Chicago?
The weather, I love the weather. There are so many changes. In the summer, customers seem to be a little slower. In the winter, customers are a little more generous.
What have you learned working at StreetWise?
I learned to be more understanding of my customers and who I am. My customers and I talk about religion and health. We communicate a lot. Most of us are of all different beliefs, and that is something that I really like about my customers.
What are your future goals?
I am 58 right now. When I was young I had a goal to breed horses and be a millionaire! Now my goal is to be healthy and keep on going at StreetWise. This will be my last stand. I just want to make money, pay my bills and have some fun!
What do you like to do for fun?
My health is getting bad, so I want to start relaxing and taking in a ball game. That’s my goal, to relax in that fashion.
Is there anything else you want to tell your readers?
I want to tell them that I love them a lot, and God bless you guys. They are still there for me and give me many blessings.