CityBeat’s Living Out Loud – Cincinnati Blog

{October 6, 2006}   Coming Full Circle

elgin.jpglg-118.jpg In early December, 1973, Jim Weiss, President of Elgin Office Equipment took a chance on a 19-year-old farm kid from East Enterprise, Indiana. Namely, he gave me a job. Now, almost 33 years later, I’m back from where I started.

The strange thing is, I always knew this would happen – always knew I would go full circle.

Three and a half years after working there, I left for two reasons. The first being I was going to get married. The second – I needed to make more money.

I think these are the only reasons why I left. I always enjoyed the work – doing a little bit of everything. Jim Weiss, sometimes through the fire, gave me an education in business that I have never forgotten. I have always consider him my first and best boss.
I left. I became a “real” businessman working for both private and public companies. I was successful and made a lot of money, working long hours over the weeks, months and years.

Jim and I always stayed in touch, mostly through phone calls. Once when I was Controller at a clothing manufacturer in Forest Park, he came out to visit me. Sometimes when I was downtown, I would poke my head into 810 Main Street to see what was going on. I always considered Elgin my roots.

Roots change sometimes. In October of 1997, I became tired of corporate life. Since a kid, I always dreamed of being a writer and decided to start taking it seriously.

I went to work for CityBeat, started writing a few stories for them, then developed the Living Out Loud Column. I wrote a book, did a cover story for the paper with more in the works and now I’m trying to develop this blog which is becoming successful.

But my roots I never forgot – and to flat out honest, being a writer doesn’t always pay the bills and it’s also very isolating.
So I’m back at 810 Main Street, downtown – again, doing a little bit of everything. Jim is still there, overseeing the operation. His son Allen – who I knew when he was a kid, is sort of running the show now. Debbie, the office supply person is a hoot and is totally on the job.
The business has changed a little, hell, what doesn’t change? Over a year ago, they opened an outlet store on the corner called Elgin Retro Furniture. It’s hot – during business like you wouldn’t believe. If you haven’t checked it out, you need to.
I think Jim and I are probably the two grumpy old men there now, but that’s all right. All these young kids running around being all creative in what they’re doing and selling is taking me a bit to get use to but that’s all right too. Even old dogs like me can learn new tricks.

Coming full circle feels right. Again, I somehow knew this would happen.

Come in. Visit. Say hi. We’re a friendly place. For me, I’m getting back to my roots and it’s good to be back.

Larry Gross


Richard says:

You know the old saying – one can never go back, but maybe that’s just an old saying.

Carol says:

I always wanted to do this too – return to my “roots” as you say, but the freight company I worked for twenty years ago went out of business.

C.A. MacConnell says:

I know what you mean. I miss my one horse job…but my boss retired. I was like, what are you gonna go and do that for? Selfish me. Writing is for a living is hard, yes…lord. Are they hiring? Ha.

OOh, my first job was at Kings Island. And I moonlighted hosting children’s birthday parties at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Those were the days! I could go months without a day off because it wasn’t even like working. And the rent? $500/month split with a roommate at Forum Apartments.

But I have no real desire to go back. I’m still at the beginning of my circle (even though all that seems like a lifetime ago).

Jim Allen says:

You belong downtown. Welcome home.

Brian Ciesko says:

Hmmm,working in the kitchen @ Duff’s Smorgasbord in Evendale . . . I’m pretty damn sure I don’t want to go back to that. But I recently scored a full-time gig in the Art & Music dept. @ the Main Public Library [where I am even now shirking my duties, shhh!] so this will do for now. And I am slowly piecing together my next LOL column so look for it, Larry, about, oh, right after I finally finish it. Peace. . .

Jim Stanton says:

Well, Larry, sometimes you can go back. You and I have something in commone.

We’re both business people and I started my career also at an office equipment store right next to Elgin! It was called Peter Paul office equipment and I think I kind of remember you – what, around 1973, 74? We competed against one another, but Elgin was always bigger and had more customers. I remember it being a friendly time and sometimes we would buy from one another.

The 70’s are gone. Peter Paul is still around, just in another location and I was approached a couple years ago about going back. I didn’t, but maybe I should have. It sounds like you’re having a good old time returning to your roots.

Kelly says:

Yes, Larry needs to be downtown. 810 Main Street? You should not have said this, sexy Larry, because I’ll be dropping in to see you.

Beaver Head says:

I hope this new job thing, going full circle, doesn’t mean you’re giving up your column or this blog. You have some talent my man.

jill-o says:

i don’t see you much in keller’s. what’s going on?

numb says:

not in northside. i can now walk the streets without running into you.

Barbara says:

That is so great, you returning to your first job. 33 years later, you can show them a lot I’m sure. Glad you’re back downtown.

Matt says:


KEEP WRITING. Coming full circle is one thing, but please don’t give up what you truly love. This blog is turning into a daily habit with me and the only Living Out Loud columns that I like are the ones you write. Returning to your roots in one thing, but KNOW you have readers who look forward to what you have to say. DON’T STOP.

t.J. says:

YOU………ARE………….WANTED……..BY ME………..AND……….YOU…..KNOW………..IT.

stop pretending not to notice me. call.

sure, delete this.

Yet another Karen says:

I’m on my first job now – waiting tables here in Northside. I’ll get back to you 33 years from now.

Joe says:

My first job was cleaning rooms and toilets for a hotel in Kentucky. I don’t want to go back.

C.A. MacConnell says:

My first job was making service follow-up calls at a car dealer. I was terrible at it. I was terrified of the phone. Alas, I didn’t get much work done. I am not terrified of the phone anymore, but I still think it’s nice background noise and forget to answer.

jake says:

i hate the phone. i don’t have a cellphone and on my landline i always have my ringer off.

Marilyn says:

Cool… Larry… has… a… stalker!

Seriously, Larry congrats on the new endeavor.

Karen says:

Yeah, Larry kind of strange, do you know this tJ person?

Larry Gross says:

Hi Karen –

Thanks for visiting us almost daily. I appreciate it.

Yes, I know who tJ is and this person is harmless. Unless a comment is way over the top, I don’t delete it. I’m trying to be fair here and I appreciate everybody checking us out.

Peace to you, my friend.

Matt says:

Good luck with this TJ chick. it is a bit wild.

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