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Amazing Home Business from Fruit Crate Labels
by Richard Kimura
12/29/06
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Here is one very unusual home business story for you. It shows that just about any passion can result in a home business if you love it enough and the Lord directs it! Having started many home businesses over the years, this one has got to win the uniqueness award. Lots of lessons were learned here, but one thing leads to another and before you know it, it's a business. How do some people start businesses so easily? My personal secret, is to know yourself and what makes you tick. Some questions to ask myself: What am I good at? What am I truly passionate about. What stokes my passion? Is it enough to drive you to know all you can about your business, day in and day out?

It all began when we wanted some apple boxes for storing newspaper and kindling by the wood stove. Some of these old boxes that had colorful labels still on them, or so I thought, but it had been a while since I'd seen any. Each Thursday a new Giant Nickel want ads would come out, and hunting through these and local antique and collectibles stores for months did not yield any boxes. One day ad finally appeared for apple boxes with labels! I knew from experience that apple and pear boxes with labels did not grow on trees, exactly. It was a short drive out to the small town of Burbank WA, and a nice, chubby, Santa Clause-like man met me at the door. His name was Jerry. He sold me 7 boxes, and they were all very beautiful. A few months later, the urge to see Jerry came back, and soon I purchased a bunch of labels from him.

Colorful fruit crate labels were made between 1900 and 1956, when cardboard was introduced - and within a year the wooden box and it's paper label were obsolete. The only labels that survived unused, in mint condition, were those that were saved through the diligence of farm families, packagers, shippers, crazy collectors, and museums. A local museum was raising money for an expansion and was selling a large collection of colorful Americana - apple and pear labels. So, a heavy investment, or contribution, was made into the museum's building expansion fund! Collectors and dealers came out of the woodwork, and annual invitations soon came in the mail for 'apple label shows.' Incredibly, there were whole shows dedicated to labels, and people bought, sold, and traded them. Soon my web site had almost 20,000 visitors and I knew most of the fruit crate label dealers across the U.S. What an interesting bunch of folks! Rare labels were fetching $100, $200, and sometimes $500 each! These labels are only sheets of old paper about 9" x 10" in size, but very old paper. They did have a magical way of taking you back in time, to older, simpler times. Fruit growers pinned their hopes on the colorful themes, hoping buyers would remember their brand at auction.

I memorized prices and images for thousands of labels, and it wasn't long before this old eye could spot an unknown or rare label. One day there was an urge deep within me to go check out the pawn shops too. So, I got up and went to the Cable Bridge Pawn shop and asked the lady if she had any labels. She did....and brought out some beautiful rare citrus labels that I'd never seen before. My heart was racing as I bought them for $1 each. The next week I put one on eBay for $49. During the week it worked it's way up, reaching $179 a few hours before close! But, my wife and I had our usual Friday night date night, and we went out to eat, wondering what would happen to "Forty-Nine Brand," a California gold mining theme label with a muscular man in a red shirt, white flowing hair, stick in hand, a pack mule, and a beautiful snow-covered Sierra mountains in the backgroun. When we got back from our date, the auction had closed, and I could not believe my eyes. It had been bid up to $789! This was a very strange and shocking experience, and this microbusiness the Lord gave me continues to astound me.


About Rich Kimura:

Rich Kimura is a freelance writer, married father of 4, chemical engineer, and entrepreneur. He has authored numerous technical papers, has 1 patents and 2 patents-pending, and 24 years experience in the nuclear and chemical industries. Rich started 6 microbusinesses and teaches on the subject, and is Crown Financial trained.

For more stories, tips, and experiences on home businesses, money, finances, relationships, spiritual topics, work, investments, micro-business, home businesses, family relationships, spiritual perspectives, and other topics, visit Cirrovista at http://www.cirrovista.com or see this label business at http://www.cirrovista.com/labelplace.html



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