Driving and Coffee- Meet Ken
Posted on 18 February 2016
Ken is one of my favorite people. He is the owner and designer of Paul Lawrence ties and belts. Beyond producing some of the best boys ties and belts to be found anywhere, Ken is a real character. He is lively, upbeat, outgoing and always has a new repertoire of stories to relate. His visits to Crawford Boys are always a treat. Let me explain a few things about Ken. I’ll begin with driving and coffee.
Ken lives and his company is based in New Jersey… a long 9-hour drive from Toronto. When he has a new collection of boys ties and belts to show us he will usually schedule his Toronto appointments close to his Buffalo meetings, making his drive here only an additional two hours.
But Ken likes to drive and for him, it is not a hardship to make the run from Buffalo for a 9:30 appointment, spend an hour and a half here then hop back into his car for the return trip. On other occasions he has walked into the store and announced that he drove straight from New Jersey and would be returning that same day. I always wonder how he does it.
I thought that nothing about Ken and driving could surprise me any longer; I was wrong. About 6 months ago at about 11:30am, Ken unexpectedly walked into the store. “Ken? What are you doing here? You are the last person I expected to see. I didn’t forget a meeting did I?”
He laughed and said, “No. Nothing like that. I was in Buffalo to see my accounts there and my 11am canceled on me. So I thought I’d drive to grab a cup of coffee with you. I’ve got half an hour before I have to drive back for my 2pm appointment. I hope you’ve got coffee ready for me.”
“You must be joking. You drove almost two hours for a cup of coffee?” I was incredulous.
“I like your coffee. It’s always 3rd rail. It’s worth the half hour I’ll have to spend talking to you.”
‘3rd rail coffee’- that’s another of Ken’s eccentricities. The 3rd rail of a subway track is the one that carries the high voltage electrical current. If a cup of coffee isn’t strong enough to give him a real jolt, then to Ken it just isn’t coffee. I suspect that the real reason Ken drives up to Toronto is not to sell me ties and belts, or indulge in scintillating conversation.
He just enjoys my coffee.
Ken has other interesting quirks (see the photo). But I’ll leave those for another time.