My original entrance into the family business was not on a good one. It was the first week of summer after 8th grade and my mother had enough of me acting up around the neighborhood. She stuck her finger three inches from my face and yelled, “Andrew Johnson Olinde Junior, it’s time for you to grow up!” The next thing I know she was on the telephone with my stern grandfather, J.B. Olinde. The next day I was cleaning out the old advertising closet on the second floor of Olinde’s Furniture & Appliances.
For the next nine summers I spent my time working in the warehouse, the credit department, and the accounting department. From time to time I would get pulled away from my work in order to do an odd job around the showroom floor under the supervision of the store manager, David Olinde. I learned a lot over those nine summers, and I even met my future wife, Mary Shortess Olinde, the summer after sophomore year of college. After graduation my grandfather and uncle, Thomas Olinde, made a wise decision that I still appreciate to this day; they rejected my plea to start my career at the family business.
Therefore, I went out and saw what it is like in the “real world.” I did not necessarily like it, so I went back to school and got a Masters of Business Administration. Afterwards, I worked five years in the health insurance business. Finally, one day as I was plugging away at a group quote for a large employer in Vidalia, Louisiana, my Uncle Tommy called and asked me if I wanted to work for the family business. I was ecstatic! Life has matured and humbled me, and I am going to make the best of my new career as store manager of Olinde’s Mattress Superstore.- Andrew Olinde, Jr.