Taking the ‘Famous’ out of Carl Green
STEUBENVILLE — At 81, Carl Green isn’t punching a clock any longer, so to speak, and that’s a new development for the no-longer-working salesman from Famous Supply in Steubenville.
Just into the initial weeks of retirement, the Bloomingdale resident admitted that reality hasn’t quite sunk in yet, especially considering his career spanned 58 years.
“I don’t know if it’s hit me yet,” said Green, whose latter time was spent as a salesman in a part-time capacity at Famous Supply, located at 934 Adams St., but from 1978 to 2001, for example, he served as sales manager over six warehouses.
But his initial job there was as a pricing clerk, his first day of work on March 3, 1963.
The business is a family owned wholesale distributor since 1933 that began in Cleveland and was founded by the late Hyman Blaushild and has fourth-generation involvement today. Jay Blaushild is CEO; his son Mark is president; and Mark’s sons, Kevin and Brian, are vice presidents, according to Green. It sells HVAC, plumbing, industrial, pipe, valves, fittings and building products to professional contractors.
By the time Green started there, he had served three years in the Army, having enlisted in February 1958 and spending the bulk of his time in Germany. He also had studied several months at Bliss Business School in Columbus after having graduated in 1957 from Salineville High School — “gone today, part of Southern Local,” he explained.
Green was born in Salineville in 1939, the youngest of nine children. His parents were Harry and Ellen Green.
“Back then very few people knew what they wanted to do,” he said when asked what kind of career he thought he might pursue.
“I envisioned myself as a high school basketball coach because I was always involved in sports,” he said.
“I played basketball in high school and had brothers who played, and my dad played semi-pro baseball until he was 42. My mother had nine kids, and she would take nine kids to the ball field,” Green said, recalling the days of being taken to games involving his father, “a very good second baseman.” Green would have only been a toddler then, his eldest brother 15 years older.
Growing up, Green would hear praise about his dad’s on-the-diamond prowess.
“Some of his older children by that age were in the Army, World War II, but he kept playing and loved to play and was very good. There used to be a gentleman who owned a bakery in Salineville — Drummy Lange — and he would tell me how good my dad was.”
His father worked for GE Telephone Co. for more than 20 years, and he worked on the Pennsylvania Railroad.
“I remember him working on the railroad cars. We’d take him to New Philadelphia on a Sunday night, and we’d go and pick him up on Friday night,” Green said. “My dad and mother never bought a car until 1941, when he was 40 years old.”
Green said his father worked at Ravenna Arsenal during World War II. He recalled how people from East Liverpool approached his father about buying the car.
“They wanted to buy this car, and they weren’t being made. I was sitting in the garage with him when he was talking with these people. They told him how much money they’d give him, which didn’t mean anything to me but to him a lot.” He said his father apologized that they had the impression the car was for sale. He told them, ‘If I sold this car, I’d have no way to go to work to make means for my family.’ I’ll never forget that,” Green said.
After his time in the Army, Green returned to Salineville, initially drawing unemployment, then heeding the urging of a brother to assist in his trucking business outside Minerva. “I started greasing trucks and changing tires, generators, and learned a lot about the trucking business.”
Then in late summer 1962, he landed a job in Minerva at a business that made parts for jet engines.
“That wasn’t for me,” Green said. ” I wasn’t a person who punched a clock. My dad always told me you never want a job where you punch a clock — you’ll never get ahead,” he recalled.
“There was an opening down here for a pricing clerk in Steubenville at Famous Supply. Back then everything was priced out of a book. I started there on March 3, 1963. It was Famous Furnace then, and people to this day still want to say Famous Furnace but it isn’t,” Green said in a recent interview.
Green learned about the opening through his brother who was in the heating business and had made purchases from there.
“Back then there was a little warehouse in East Liverpool called East Ohio Supply, where most guys bought stuff but they heard of this company called Famous and they delivered up to Liverpool once or twice a week, back before any roads were built,” Green said, noting how “old Route 7” was the lone traveling option. “When I started in ’63 I drove from Salineville to Steubenville every day, 12 miles to Wellsville, old 7 down through Yellow Creek, down through Port Homer, down through Stratton, Empire, on to Toronto and on to Alikanna. It’d take me about 50 minutes from Salineville to get down here,” he reminisced.
Green recalled being interviewed by then-manager Jim Paddock and being asked to return for a second one.
He spent four years as a pricing clerk at a time when the Steubenville business presence was one of three for Famous, the other two, he said, in Cleveland and Lorain.
Green said one day the manager asked him if he wanted to be a salesman and to report to work the next day in a shirt and tie.
“He said go to Hills School, they’re going to buy stuff, and I want you to go there and present yourself, and he told me what they’re going to buy,” he explained.
By then Green was in his mid-20s, married to his now ex-wife, Emma, and living in Wintersville.
Sales was something he enjoyed, his niche.
“I loved to intermingle with people — I still do,” Green said, noting the job involved travel around the area. “I worked in Steubenville one day, then I worked out toward Richmond, Amsterdam, Kilgore, Scio and Jewett. Another day encompassed Weirton, New Cumberland. Another day I went to Toronto, Stratton, Empire. I am calling on heating guys, plumbers, builders,” he said.
That continued until 1978 when he became a sales manager for six warehouses — Uniontown, Pa., Washington, Pa., Wheeling, Steubenville and Newark and then Byesville. He continued in that capacity until 2001, when he said he returned by desire to a sales position out of Steubenville. His outside sales territory included Columbiana and Carroll counties and part of Harrison County.
“I was always a person I’d work the best I could and do the right thing and do a little bit more,” he said of his work ethic influenced by his father.
“I never put a time frame on my day’s work,” he said of his dad’s urging to avoid the punch-a-time-clock school of thought. “I learned how to work at a young age and how to give an extra minute, five minutes, 10 minutes, an hour if you had to. I’d never hesitate.”
“I did like what I was doing,” Green said. “A man once told me they can take Carl out of Famous, but they can’t take Famous out of Carl, and I didn’t understand that but then I did understand it as the years go by.”
Asked for the translation of that, Green responded, “Wherever I go, I’ll always be a Famous Supply, Famous Furnace guy.”
What Green said he enjoyed most about his longtime job was “meeting people, helping people out.”
More free time now means seeing family, including son Robert, who lives in Canton, and Doug, who resides in Fairlawn, and two granddaughters. He also is an avid Indian Creek sports supporter who enjoys going to games.
(Kiaski can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)