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After his morning orange juice, hard-boiled eggs and pushups performed quietly on a small space of floor, my grandfather walked from his family’s apartment down the narrow, winding staircase that barely contained his broad Russian shoulders, pushed open the copper-framed door, flipped on the incandescent lights, and swept the sawdust at his eponymous Meyers Grocery in Washington, D.C.

He was ready for another day of greeting his customers, his neighbors, by their first names, already pretty much knowing what they needed, without them having to ask.

At the other end of the century, after graduating from Brown, I backpacked through Europe, ran the bulls in Pamplona and, with my grandfather’s inheritance, attended Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. I traveled west to my first job in Los Angeles, where I would meet an MG-roadster-driving Jersey girl and her Shepherd-Husky.

We loved California, but obeyed a pull of gravity back East, where I attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and started a career in marketing. Working for small and large ad agencies before starting my own shop in the village of Tribeca in downtown New York,  I created campaigns for Business Week, I Love New York, BMW Motorcycles, and other brands.

Today, Jersey Girl and I love our top-down, country-road drives as much as we do the pace of New York, where our two sons live and work. And where I motor my Mini to every day, channeling the one-on-one customer stories of Meyer into every little and big thing I do.

 

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