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News From Our Team

by Dennis DiPaolo 

“Hey dad, it’s a pirate!”, so I turn around to see what price tag the kid is complaining about, and he’s pointing at my eye patch!  A lot of you have asked me about it.  I don’t actually wear it all the time, but here’s the scoop:  I got a virus in my right eye a little over two years ago, and it’s doing its best to destroy my eye.  I can’t see anything with it except light and dark, but that’s enough to make me dizzy if light gets into it.  So, I wear an eye patch when my eyelid gets tired from staying tightly closed.

I had some surgery to fix one thing last January, and another is due in August that might get me some vision back.  The actual virus is incurable, so long term it will probably never be normal.  But, I’ve got a good HMO, and they’re willing to keep on trying to help!

Three of our younger team members graduated from high school in June and are heading off to college in September.  Jacob’s going to Keene State, Kelsey’s going to the University of Oklahoma, and Evan’s going to the University of Vermont.  I love watching how our young adults grow up when they go away to college.  Think about how much help Taylor, Amanda, and Mark (our current college students) have been to you this year.  Our training program is designed to keep and train the best possible people through two years of high school and five years of college (that’s average these days) so that you receive the best possible service from intelligent, educated professionals.  I’ll take my college students over even the managers of those other stores any day of the week.

Kip’s father passed away in early June, after a long and difficult illness.  Kip and his son Patrick have performed in a just unbelievable manner in dealing with the constant crises all spring – let alone the time right around the passing.  I’ll guarantee that you all never noticed a drop in service except when we closed the store for the wake.  The two of them are just wonderful people, let alone the absolute best at helping customers.

Two of Jeanne’s dogs are pregnant now:  Jada (the French Bulldog) and Dixie (the largest of the three Boston Terriers).  We have due dates in late July/early August, and puppies will go to their new homes in September.  If you’re interested, call Jeanne at the store. and she can put you on her waiting list.  A warning, though:  she rejects more applicants than she accepts.  The Bostons normally go for around $1700, and the Frenchies go for around $2700. She now has breeders from Canada, Texas, and the west coast looking for puppies from her lines.  Hint:  the way you get picked is by providing the best possible environment for the puppies Helping Your Community

We are sponsoring a Red Cross Bloodmobile here at the store on Friday, August 20.  We’ll provide food, a nice environment, and some “Thank You” gift bags to donors.  Blood supplies are very low in late summer, because so many people are on vacation.  Please take a few minutes to stop in and help out.  Some day you or someone you love may be in need of blood donated by someone else in your community.

We have rescheduled the Parent-Child 8-Ball Tournament for Juvenile Diabetes from October 23, 2004 to January 15, 2005, with finals in Boston on January 22.  When we hit up the TV stations for free advertising in October, they couldn’t help us because of the elections.  First, their commercial time will be sold out.  Second, they have to sell commercials to politicians at the lowest price that they sell to anyone – so free to us means free to Bush and Kerry.  We moved the date to January and got a promise of $28,000 in free advertising!

Our vendors have been unbelievably supportive.  Brunswick has donated a pool table as first prize, and my friend Michael Brownstein from Recreation World in Natick will provide the installation.  Cue and Case is providing….a cue and case to the winners in every location during the preliminaries.  Plus Dave Pearson, the “Ginger Wizard” will fly in to Boston to help us run the finals.  Dave is an internationally renowned pool player who is in the Guinness Book of World Records multiple times for his pool accomplishments.  This is going to be so cool!  We have sign-up sheets in the store for our tournament.  We’ll probably work out the other locations throughout the fall and announce them in December.

We adopted a Platoon of local National Guard soldiers currently serving in Iraq.  We have a picture of them in our lunchroom if you want to see!  We’re taking donations at the cash registers. We hired Queenie’s Weenies to give away free hot dogs and sodas in the parking lot on our busiest weekends in April, May and June and asked for donations at the hot dog cart to go to the troops.  We’ve raised $1,329.38 so far.  The soldiers can use this donation at the PX for phone cards and other “luxuries”, and their families can use the rest to buy and mail things they can’t get there.  Unfortunately, it cost Jeanne and me $2300 in order to raise the $1300, so we’re looking around for other ideas that will raise more money than it costs!

There’s a list in the box below of the things that the guys over there can use.  We’re working on finding some stores that will sell them to us at wholesale so that we can make our money stretch farther.  We still have to pay the post office to mail them.

I am trying really hard to resist a political message, but what is wrong with us, that the House of Representatives just voted $9.6 billion (with a “B”) for tobacco farmers (over 5 years) so they will continue to grow a product that gives smokers, and those around them, cancer.  And we have young soldiers, fighting a war started by old rich guys in Washington, building their own barracks in between missions, and asking their wives and loved ones to send them food, sunblock and bug spray?  Why aren’t there tractor-trailers of these items over there free for the taking?  God Almighty, the older I am, the less I understand.

I’m sorry. Where was I? Oh right…
If you want to donate money, drop it off at the store (in the collection box or give it to the manager).  If you want to donate items, drop them off, and if you have any questions, call my assistant, Cyndi Kiernan, at extension 245.