In 70 years, nothing but possibilities

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When you are a child, everything is possible. For some of us that doesn’t change.

When I returned from the war in Vietnam I went to work at Ithaca Hosiery as the superintendent of the cut-and-sew division. From there I went to work at United Advertising as the controller/bookkeeper. I hated the job but loved the work; there I learned everything not to do in the advertising business.

The agency closed and, after a year of odd jobs I ended up bartending at the Hilton. That was before liquor by the drink, but I had all the ingredients to make cocktails. I made great money.

Then a position came open at American Drew, a furniture manufacturer, as the assistant to the director of advertising. The director had interviewed more than 60 people for the job; I was shocked that I was chosen. He was an ex-Marine, and liked that I was former Army. I was also one of the few people on the list willing to move to North Wilkesboro, and I could spell “advertising.”

I was transferred to High Point when Lea, American Drew and Daystrom furniture companies merged to form LADD, and served as director of communications for all five divisions.  LADD was owned by Sperry & Hutchinson — was better known for its Green Stamps. I stayed there a couple of years then went to Bouvier Cecil (now Bouvier Kelly) as an account executive. I left there after just over a year and started Broach & Company which I operated for 30 years until I retired.

In 1985, I bought the old Salvation Army building in downtown Greensboro. I used the upstairs for the office for Broach & Company, which eventually grew to 17 employees. Stephen Gee, Hall Parish and David Bell approached me about using the former sanctuary as a performing arts theater. They operated there as the Broach Theatre for 25 years. No one has ever heard of Broach & Company, but they all know the Broach Theatre.

From time to time I will be chatting with a younger person and they’ll say they are so bored. I tell them that I can’t even understand the concept! There is way more to do than I can possibly get done. There are so many organizations and individuals who can use my help, and yours as well.

Turning 70 feels strange. I feel about the same as I always have. I can still work 18 hours a day or more. I am still excited by new projects like Triad City Beat. I also helped my good friend Scot Sanborn kick off his distillery, Sutler’s Spirits, making awesome gin and aged rum in Winston-Salem’s West End Mill Works. Since I retired I have more time to do the things I want to and I plan to travel more. I like hanging out at my house. I have been organizing old pictures from my past as well as my parents.

I highly recommend it to any of you brave enough to get old. I find it funny to think of myself being old. Those of you who know me know that I don’t feel old. You don’t have to, either. Eat well, exercise and stay excited by great things as well as small ones. Get involved in your community and give back to it, too.

I have seen a lot of the world but want to see more. One of the funny things that I have figured out is that it takes a while to learn to retire. I’m learning. I want to go to Ireland, Spain and Italy, as well as South America.

In all, I highly recommend retirement. Once you get the hang of it, it’s awesome!

Allen Broach is the publisher emeritus of Triad City Beat newspaper and a patron saint of the local arts (our description, not his). Columnist Jelisa Castrodale is on vacation abroad this week, and will return to these pages in the following issue of TCB!