Holland Well, what were your first impressions of M. Lipsitz?
Salome Well, you know, they hired me, or employed me to become——to be able to manage the company. But, of course, I had no knowledge of the business. So first I had to learn the business before I could become actively involved in the management. And my first impression was, you know, you go to work and you learn to do all the things that there is to do. You learn to weigh, you learn to pay customers. You learn the products, how they’re processed, what their value is, where to——how to ship them. And then in all of the other things that you do in business, such as manage people, manage equipment, purchase equipment, and that sort of thing. And that was my first impression was just to get my——get involved and make mistakes and learn as you go. I have taught many people the same thing that I did. The management people that I hire or I employ are all——were all trained by my company. We have never employed a person who had experience. We always start with someone who had no experience and then we train them in our own method, and that was the method in which I learned, and the method which I have always used in employing other people.
Holland It seems like with that method that they probably stay with your company longer.
Salome Exactly. Most of our employees have a good bit of longevity. Some of them, as much as thirty and forty years. My——my employment——I’ve been involved in the business fifty-——let’s see, from ’57 to——fifty-four years. And I had employees that were——that have been involved with——forty——as much as forty years.
Holland What’s something that you look for when someone comes to you with a proposal——they need funds for something? Is there a certain something that you look for as to whether or not you’ll give to that cause?
Salome Well, primarily you look for things that are going to help——hopefully help the most people and the underprivileged. Quite often, for instance with the Chamber, that was not the case. With the Chamber, it was economic development and having an office area that was presentable to the public and to out-of-town people that came here to talk to the Chamber of Commerce. See, we had a rented office over in the Hilton Hotel, and that wasn’t doing very well. And now, we’ve got people who come in here from all over to see our Chamber office. But, you know, you weigh each one of these things. Some of them——most of them are to raise funds for the underprivileged or to build schools or to do something that is going to help the masses. Uh, you know, we’d work on a project for the hospitals. I serve on the Providence Foundation, which is responsible for raising funds for additional items that the hospital can’t afford to do on their regular operating budget. And I don’t know, you just sort of——you weigh each one of these deals as they come up, and decide how much you’re going to——you can afford to put into it, and you go forth with it.
Holland Is there a certain gift that you’ve gotten the most satisfaction out of?
Salome No, I get satisfaction out of all of them.
Salome I don’t have any particular thing that——I will get——tell you one other thing that I do. I help certain students go to school. Now, I get satisfaction out of that. In other words, I have had several students go through four years of college. Most of the time, I try to go to a state school where it’s a little more affordable. But in addition to my own grandchildren, I keep sometimes as much——as many as two and three students in school, going to college, and I do that quietly. I don’t tell anybody about it, and I don’t have a real program. I just take this——the student has to do two things. They have to come into my office and sit down with their grades once a semester and talk to me about it, and talk to me about their plans. And of course, they have to——they——I can’t afford to have them going to school and failing all their subjects. They have to make the grades, but I don’t put a specific minimum on it. But I get a great deal of satisfaction out of having some of these children, these young people go to school where they otherwise probably couldn’t, or they’d have to go take out student loans. I think student loans is the worst thing that ever happened to this country. I can’t imagine a student borrowing sixty, eighty thousand dollars to go to college and then having to face that when they get out at a time where they’re starting out in life. That is tough. But I get a lot of satisfaction out of helping students go to school. I’ve done that with several over the past ten or fifteen years. I’ve had several graduate, and I put my own grandchildren through school, but that’s my deal. That’s private. But not very many people know I do the school thing. I——that’s something I do quietly, and something I——I guess I get as much satisfaction out of doing that as anything as far as making, giving, contributing money.