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Industrial Property Development

“You’ll Loose Your Ass at Blackmer Post!” says Manny Tennenbaum (M Tennenbaum Scrap – Circa 1956) – Excerps from “Don’t Wreck the Empire”

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Blackmer & Post

“Arnie, you made a big mistake and I am here to save you.” 

That is what one of the largest St. Louis Demolition / Scrap Contractors of 1956, Manny Tennenbaum of M. Tennenbaum Scrap and Demolition said to Arnold Spirtas as Arnie had just pooled together every last dollar he had ($5,000.00 dollars) to buy the defunct and transitioning ‘Blackmer & Post’ Building located at Southwest and Kingshighway in St. Louis Missouri.

Arnie was offered the deal from Johnny Rouso and Benny Margiato.  These two had the responsibility to clear the site, but had no idea what to do with the enormous boilers and ovens that Blackmer & Post had which had for nearly half a century molded and fired the massive clay sewer pipe it manufactured.

Arnie had a few responsibilities at that time, not all of which were of his own valition or choice; a new wife, a sister to marry off and all the other responsibilities that come to a 21 year old man that has just lost his father.

Arnie had the gut feel that still burns in his belly today when he know a deal looms. 

“If I give Rouso and Margiato $5,000.00 cash for the scrap rights, I am certain I can sell the scrap to the Gimplesons and make quite a profit!”  Arnie thought.

Blackmer & Post 2

That was his theory, those were his figures and that was his gut feel, but when he was approached by Manny Tennenbaum, and Manny told Arnie, “Son, I can save you from your mistake.  Your going to loose your ass on this job.  I will give you the $5,000 dollars that you just spent and an extra $1,000 and you can survive to live another day.” 

Arnie said to himself, “Why is Mr. Tennenbaum so interested in Blackmer?  He is calling me at home, showing up at my job site, he is so thrifty, and such a tough business man, he can only be interested because there is a value there!”

Arnie was right!  Dad put his top men on the job, (His only men)!  Earnest Raybon, Gus Gipson, Shortdog Hamilton, and Earl Lightfoot.  Every so ofter he would bring his trusted hand Jackson (Alias Ellis Stringer – a story on his own) to the site to help when Jackson wasn’t out peddling scrap from Dad’s other projects.

Dad was introduced to the deal by the Gimplesons (“they are a story in there own right“), Sigh, Sam, Monk and Ben.  The Gimpleson brothers (including the fifth brother Joe – an accountant) owned Ajax Iron and Metal on 2747 Papin and they knew Arnie had the ability to get the job done.  Arnie and his “A” crew with their own hands cut out “TONS” of scrap and other materials loading the family truck, a 1947 GMC swayback truck, as well as the borrowed truck form AJAX – The Gimpleson Brothers.


Arnie, using an acytalene torch, cut the boilers up with his own hands.  He often singed his eyebrows, coming home as dirty as one could be having put in two shift of manual hard labor a day.  A little sleep and he was back to do it again the next day.  Quite different from his aspiration to be a shoe salesman at his uncle Nat’s shoe store just two years prior when his dad was alive and he was graduating Washington University.

After a purchase of $5,000.00 and costs of $3,000.00 dollars, Arnie earned $21,000.00 dollars.  Wow was Arnie right or what?  He knew it and stayed with it and made a profit to boot!  That helped him launch his business. 


Arnie sits back to outline the lesson as if one cannot intimate the multiple lessons from the story…

  1. Always believe in yourself
  2. If you run the figures and you understand the ramifications, you are your best investment
  3. Know the crew you put on a job, you don’t necessarily have to trust them, but you absolutely have to watch them (ALL THE TIME) – on another day we will discuss the lunch box story.
  4. Find strong support (like the Gimpleson brothers) they will see you through.
  5. Your adversaries, sometimes seen as “Support” always have ulterior motives.
  6. Watch your own back, nobody else will.
  • What lessons do you learn from the Blackmer & Post Story?
  • Do you have a lesson or similar story in which someone tried to talk you out of, or away from a good deal?
  • Do you always give up on the verge of  success, but see others break through to greatness?
  • Is there a process to cut away from bad deals and stay with good deals, and an ability to determine each?

Give me your feed back.

Let me know if you have a former industrial plant, resulting property and even environmental conditions that trouble you.  We will buy your problem from you.

Contact: EJ Spirtas Group, LLC and more specifically the specialty branch AMAX to tend to your property & asset troubles! 

Eric J. Spirtas
EJ Spirtas Group, LLC
Demolition Expert
Author of “Don’t Wreck the Empire”

Stay tuned… I am writing my book and it is stuffed with these business tips
“Don’t Wreck the Empire” a family business memoir – The Prince Views the Kingdom!


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