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From Phonograph Records to Engagement Rings

Young people today may not have even heard of a phonograph record. But when Richard “Richie” Freilich was a kid, they were one of the coolest things around. 

And Richie was extremely proud that his dad, Sheldon, owned a company that pumped out many of the records his friends ran after.

Richie dreamed of going into his father’s business, Keel Manufacturing.  And he eventually did.  But, sadly, his dad was already gone, having passed away when Richie was only fifteen. 

For many years, Richie worked summers at the Hauppauge, Long Island, Keel factory.  He remembers helping turn out records by the likes of the Bee Gees and Donna Summer.

After graduating from Hofstra University, he went to work at Keel full time, rising to the post of Assistant Production Manager.  In time, though, it became clear that “records were soon going the way of dinosaurs,” so he looked for a business with enduring prospects.

Today, as National Sales Manager and Director of Customer Service at Martin Flyer jewelry manufacturers, he stands at the very center of just that kind of business.  His team of ten sales professionals covers the States and Canada.

“If You do the Right thing with People”

Martin Flyer is one of the most recognizable names in the jewelry industry.  Based in a 10,000 square foot facility in Manhattan's diamond district, the third generation family business manufactures classical style bridal engagement rings, wedding bands, and wedding day jewelry.   

Richie didn’t go right from records to Martin Flyer, however.  He worked first for nearly twenty years at Harold Freeman Jewelers, where the charismatic Harold Freeman taught him the business from top to bottom – and persistently imparted his deeply held business philosophy. 

As Richie formulates it: “If you do the right thing with people, if you provide them with the kind of service you would like to be provided, you’ll be spared worry, and you’ll always have the business you’re looking for.” 

Says Richie: “At Martin Flyer, I’m still motivated by Harold’s words.  I have a passion for carrying out that approach in my own behavior and sharing it with my colleagues.  Providing a top quality product and offering outstanding service is definitely the best way to ensure continued success.”

Richie’s favorite form of recreation?  Getting away to the beach with his wife, Laura.  He also enjoys spending time with – and offering guidance to – his daughter and his two sons, who range in age from twenty-two to twenty-seven. 

“With my kids,” he explains, “I don’t focus on the subject of business success.  Young people need most of all to learn what it means to be understanding and what it means to practice patience.  I have no doubt that those skills will take them far along the road.”