Categotry Archives: Business

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Lucille Roberts

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Categories: Business

lroberts.jpgLucille Roberts, a self-proclaimed “exercise nut,” turned her passion for working out into a health club empire worth $30 million.

Born in Russia, Roberts and her family immigrated to the U.S. in order to escape religious persecution. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Business School’s Owner/Management Program.

In 1969, Roberts and her husband Bob scraped together $15,000 and opened a spa in midtown Manhattan. Her goal was to offer affordable exercise facilities for women who avoided male-dominated health clubs. The concept was an immediate success and two years later, she changed the name of the club to her own.

Roberts eventually opened gyms in 50 other locations. With more than 200,000 members, Lucille Roberts is now one of the largest women-only establishments in the country. When she wasn’t running the health club chain, Roberts wrote and published the books “Computercise” and “The Lucille Roberts 14 Day Makeover.”

Roberts died on July 17 of lung cancer. She was 59.

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George E. Pappas

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Categories: Business

Forty years ago,George E. Pappas smothered an overstuffed burrito with cheese and green chiles and gave it a brand name — the tacorito.

Pappas founded the Holly Inn restaurant in Denver, Colo., in 1960. The popularity of its main dish caused long lines to form outside the establishment, and led Pappas to trademark the entree’s name.

“Everybody makes big stuffed burritos now, but 40 years ago, they were unheard of,” said George’s nephew Michael A. Pappas.

Pappas died on July 7 from heart failure. He was 80.

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Ernie Boch

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Categories: Business

Ernest “Ernie” J. Boch Sr. will be remembered from Cape Cod to Martha’s Vineyard for his wacky commercials and giving nature.
The multimillionaire businessman and car salesman was known throughout New England for urging customers to “Come on down!” to one of his 18 dealerships and buy a car. These ads featured Boch shouting and smashing windshields to exhort his “smashing deals!” In 2000, Boch Enterprises grossed $847 million in revenues.
A well-known philanthropist, Boch donated money to local hospitals and gave away scholarships to high school students. He also contributed more than $3 million to the Boch Center for the Performing Arts, which will break ground in Mashpee, Mass., this year.
Boch died on Sunday from complications of liver cancer. He was 77.

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Arnold Nawrocki

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Categories: Business

Arnold N. Nawrocki marketed a great compliment to sliced bread — individually wrapped, sliced cheese.
Although Nawrocki first tried to wrap individual slices of cheese in wax paper, he found that cellophane was a more profitable covering. It also helped to extend the shelf life of cheese from a week to more than six months.
Nawrocki died on June 30 from kidney disease. He was 78.

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Najeeb Halaby

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Categories: Business, Military

Najeeb Halaby led a very full life. He was a lawyer and a businessman. He set Naval flying records. He headed the Federal Aviation Administration and ran Pan American World Airways. He appeared on the cover of Time Magazine. He was even the father of a queen.
Halaby graduated from Stanford University and Yale University law school. While working at a Los Angeles law firm, Halaby took flying lessons, which helped him land a job as a flight instructor with the Navy.
During World War II, Halaby test-piloted the first U.S. jet plane, the Bell P-59, and made the first continuous transcontinental jet flight. After the war, he helped Laurence Rockefeller oversee his family’s business enterprises.
When President John F. Kennedy appointed Halaby to the FAA in 1961, he decentralized its authority and helped create the FAA Flight Academy in Oklahoma City.
In 1969, Halaby became chief executive of Pan Am. While he was credited with expanding the airline’s Inter-Continental Hotel chain, he also oversaw the purchase of an expensive new fleet of Boeing 747s, a move that indebted the company for years.
After Pan Am, Halaby published the autobiography, “Crosswinds: An Airman’s Memoir,” with Doubleday. He worked as the chairman of the International Advisory Board for Royal Jordanian Airlines, and ran Halaby International, a New York investment business specializing in Middle East aviation ventures. His daughter Lisa became Queen Noor in 1978 when she married King Hussein of Jordan.
Halaby died Wednesday of congestive heart failure. He was 87.

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