When asked about how LA Readers got its start, there are two different versions of the story, Marvin’s side, and Michael’s side. The father and son duo both agree that the family business was started in 1986 but the details behind it got lost throughout the years.
Marvin (the father) insisted he started the family business because he knew all the necessary suppliers and he provided the startup investment. Michael (the son) claims that he started the business because he did all the leg work and claims that his father made him pay for the products in full before he would even let Michael sell them.
After piecing their two stories together this is what the father and son can (mostly) agree on.
When Michael was 19, his father sold him a box of overstock sunglasses for $300. What’s a teenager to do with a pile of sunglasses? Driven by his entrepreneurial spirit, he set out to sell them in hopes of starting his own business one day. Where do people spend the most time wearing sunglasses? The beach, of course! So, he began selling sunglasses out of the trunk of his car up and down the coast from San Diego to Malibu. From there he moved up to selling at local flea markets.
As Marvin (the father) got older he noticed that he had to squint to read the small print. That’s when he realized he needed reading glasses. He was shocked when he learned that nonprescription readers could cost upwards of $100. Michael understood that if his father had trouble finding affordable reading glasses that looked good, then their customers must face the same troubles. It was then that they decided to expand into selling reading glasses.
When business began to boom, Michael bought a suit, printed out some business cards and began selling at trade shows and gift shows. At the time Michael was sharing a studio apartment with his girlfriend and had boxes of sunglasses and readers stacked to the ceiling. One day when Marvin came to visit his son, he complained about navigating through the maze of eyewear. It was then that they decided to move the family business to a warehouse in Los Angeles where they remain today.
Marvin refuses to retire and still works part-time with his son