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How to slip back into semi-retirement?


#1

Was: [Job Offer] Designer

Hey All! This is Doug Zaruba, back from retirement in Panama and
working again in my studio/gallery in Maryland. This sounds like a
wonderful place to work and a wonderful opportunity for someone. If I
was 20 years younger, I’d apply.

Alas, I would love to slip back into semi-retirement.
Unfortunately/fortunately, my studio is fairly busy with custom
orders and repairs. So I would like to pose this question to the
Orchid readership: How does one retire from a strong business that is
built entirely around a single designer/goldsmith? My studio sounds a
lot like Abbey Jewelry Studio. I would like to return to my home in
the Caribbean during the winter months, but I hate to close a
successful business when so many others are struggling. Do I take on
a partner, one that I can mentor to take my place? Or just close?

I’d love to hear some opinions from both junior and senior
goldsmiths.

Thanks,
Doug


#2
My name is Simone Cervellati, 24 year old, from Italy. When you say
you want to take on someone you would like to mentor, do you want
an already experienced jeweller? 

Thanks for your inquiries. The question that I have put to the
Orchid community is “How to we retire ourselves from a successful
business when we are the sole designer/goldsmith?” I’m sure that
many members will fit into this category. When we all started out,
I’m sure that few of us gave any thought to the succession of the
businesses that we created. If I had built a retail jewelry store or
a gallery, it would be far easier to transfer the business to a new
owner. I am the sole goldsmith and designer in my business. I have a
large and loyal clientele that only want to work with me. They know
the quality of my work, they like my design sense, and they respect
my political/spiritual/ethical views. My little gallery/showroom is
an oasis of calm, filled with my paintings, sculptures, and jewelry.

So, how do I go about withdrawing from a business like this? I would
like to be able to return to my home in Panama during the cold (and
quiet) winter months, spend more time working on my sculptures and
paintings, and traveling. Is it possible to bring someone into the
business, introduce them to my clients, and gradually turn over the
business? This is usually done with a family member or a long-time
employee. Is it possible to sell a business like this and remain as
a part-time employee? This person would obviously need to be an
experienced jeweler, perhaps someone who is tired of selling at
shows. Or just close it… I hate to close such a good business and
my clients would feel the same way.

Just putting the question out there, as some of us approach the age
of retirement…

Doug Zaruba


#3

If you’re confident that business will always be there, you should
close during the horrible months of winter. I don’t know how it was
in Maryland, but in Ohio, roads don’t always get plowed, so people
can’t get to your studio anyway, If you worry, about losing all your
business, hire someone who can watch the place for you and if they
are talented enough to do some of the required work, that would be a
big plus! I know your work is beautiful.

Can you do custom from the Caribbean if necessary?

R Telaak


#4

Hi Doug; Welcome back. I took a workshop of yours years ago in DC.
really enjoyed it. Any chance of working in Panama? Put out the word
of your time in and out of the country. Line up orders in advance.
Computers can work wonders for design no matter where you are. I get
UPS shipments from Taxco, Mexico Sent in the afternoon and I get
them the next morning. Sent as samples no duty. Maybe something
similar in Panama. Just some ideas.

Dave Owen


#5

It is really easy to have your business do well when your current or
former business models include the failure to pay the artists whose
work you sell, including me. (You are listed by the State of Maryland
as the Registered Agent for Zaruba & Zaruba despite your denials of
responsibility for that business.) Nearly every week a new artist or
former customer of yours contacts me about my efforts to get paid.

Victoria Lansford
victorialansford.com


#6
So, how do I go about withdrawing from a business like this? I
would like to be able to return to my home in Panama during the
cold (and quiet) winter months, spend more time working on my
sculptures and paintings, and traveling. 

I knew a guy in late 70th who worked from the yacht. He had 72 feet
boat, which during the summer he parked at 79 street marina, in
Manhattan. When things slowed down, he would do some contacting for
Tiffany and others. When it started to get colder, he would go to
Florida for 6 month and do the same thing. I have to say it was very
effective way of doing business, and pleasant too.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#7
It is really easy to have your business do well when your current
or former business models include the failure to pay the artists
whose work you sell, including me. (You are listed by the State of
Maryland as the Registered Agent for Zaruba & Zaruba despite your
denials of responsibility for that business.) Nearly every week a
new artist or former customer of yours contacts me about my efforts
to get paid. 

It would appear that the Zaruba gallery has an issue with honest
business practices. I would be curious if there is a response to
this question. The Zaruba’s should set the record straight, and
defend their reputation, or if this is not the case then I would
venture to say that some sort of watch list might be in order to
protect others from experiencing the same outcome.


#8
(It is really easy to have your business do well when your current
or former business models include the failure to pay the artists
whose work you sell, including me. (You are listed by the State of
Maryland as the Registered Agent for Zaruba & Zaruba despite your
denials of responsibility for that business.) Nearly every week a
new artist or former customer of yours contacts me about my efforts
to get paid.) 

I will second that, and may I add,“Really Douglas” after all the
artists that have not been paid (myself included) by Zaruba and
Zaruba, (father and son?) comeing back from retirement; changing the
name of the gallery to vortex 13 ; at the same address ;and keeping
some of the older employees does not do away with your buisness moral
responsibilities in this small community. and Now you’re talking
about semi retiring again, but the buisness is doing so well that you
are having a delima? how about taking care of these open unpaid
accounts even though they were incured by your partner/apprentice?.
and you say you are looking for a partner you could mentor who could
take your place? didn’t you try that already? Hratch


#9

Hi Gang,

I will second that, and may I add,"Really Douglas" after all the
artists that have not been paid (myself included) by Zaruba and
Zaruba, (father and son?) comeing back from retirement; changing
the name of the gallery to vortex 13 ; at the same address ;and
keeping some of the older employees does not do away with your
buisness moral responsibilities in this small community. 

I’ll have to second (or fourth) that. I was one of Doug’s bench
monkeys in the Frederick store back in '95. I recall some pretty
tense conversations with the bookkeeper about just exactly when my
last paycheck would appear.

Regards,
Brian Meek.

PS-- The other Zaruba is/was his son, Andrew.


#10

“Retirement” what is this word? After a “Spinal Fusion” surgery and
multiple Cortisone injections, I’ve literally bounced back!

At my tender age I should be enjoying life with the g-kidees and
taking long winter vacations, which we now do. I’m now into a full
time active business making casino-style silver jewellery. Now also
with my 8 very interested sales-reps, retirement is not in my
vocabulary anymore: )

If anyone wishes to enquire about this “one-of-a-kind” unusual s/s
line, I’ll gladly entertain talking/writing to you…

Gerry!


#11

I moved to Panama in 2005 and my son took over my business. That
didn’t work out very well and he took the business and moved. So much
for “family succession.” My business now is located in the same
building where I started years ago, with my tools and my old bench,
but it is only my work that is shown here. I do not represent any
other artists. Almost everything I sell is custom designed or a
special order. I also get the complex or difficult repairs that
everyone is afraid to take on. Business is good.

My house in Panama is on a remote beach in the Caribbean. I don’t
have email or a studio. It would be impossible to make gold jewelry
on the beach. Besides, I would like to retire, not continue to run a
retail store. I enjoy working with my clients and making jewelry,
but as we get older, it becomes harder and harder to manipulate such
small objects. Several years ago I developed Lyme disease and the
cold winters are difficult to endure.

I know other artists who work in the same way that I do. They are
independent artisans, not jewelry stores. Many sell their work
through galleries, some have their own studios, but the bottom line
is that their entire business is based upon their work and their
designs. Is it possible to pass a business like this on to someone
else? Does it have a value, beyond the tools and inventory?

I haven’t heard of very many positive business transfers like this.
Maybe there are some, but it seems that too often the new owners
don’t operate with the same integrity as you did. I’d like to hear
from those on Orchid who did have a positive experience or who are
taking positive steps to insure a proper succession. Otherwise, it is
just a matter of turning off the lights and putting my tools on
eBay…

For those who may be curious, you can see my house in Panama at
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/11z

Doug Zaruba
Vortex 13


#12

Doug,

I moved to Panama in 2005 and my son took over my business. That
didn't work out very well and he took the business and moved. So
much for "family succession." 

Given the problems we had with both you and Andrew in paying
invoices it seems to me like he learned business operations from you.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#13
Is it possible to pass a business like this on to someone else?
Does it have a value, beyond the tools and inventory? 

Well, Doug, probably not but it depends on your particular
situation, too. I have some equipment that’s worth a fair amount of
money, even used. We have thought for some years of getting a laser -
even had 220 piped in - but we haven’t popped for it, yet.
Otherwise, what do you really have? I don’t know the answer to that,
but you do.

I can tell you what some people I know have done, and it’s along the
lines of what I intend to do. Walk away - just walk away. Think
about it I’ll use myself as an example, because I know what I have.
I have the top-of the line Otto Frei bench in oak. I have all the
usual hand tools - we have casting, vulcanizing, polishing, steam.
There’s a fine mahogany desk and chairs… All of which adds up to
chump change in the greater scheme of things. If $3k or even $5k is
going to alter your retirement position, then you shouldn’t retire.
I have some other equipment that I would surely sell, as it’s worth
a bit and it’s also not your typical jewelry stuff.

We are/were friends with one old-timer who retired. He cleaned out
the things he considered valuable and then he came to me. “Clean out
my space and you can have everything in there - keep it, give it
away, donate it, I don’t care.” That’s pretty much my own intention -
sell some of the higher value things, keep what I want to keep and
then just pass the rest of the shop onto some deserving young
person. It’s going to cost us $1500 just to move the safe. That’s
not including real estate/lease/rent, of course - that’s up to the
new person to take on. I’m the same way - people come to me because
they want MY work. When I leave it’s just going to be a handful of
tools, not any real legacy to follow.

What is your bench tray worth - all your funky old pliers and your
banged up ring mandrel? Five hundred bucks? Maybe just a hundred?


#14

I’m just an interested bystander who doesn’t like to see artists get
cheated or individuals get libeled.

So I did some online research.

The following taken from the links shown at the
official State of Maryland website concerning corporations, shows
that Zaruba & Zaruba, LLC was founded on 4/7/2004. It also clearly
shows that Andrew Zaruba became the registered agent for the
corporation on 3/18/2011 of this year. As far as documents on file
with the State of Maryland, you were the one in charge of this
company. Incidentally, the website actually allows you to view a scan
of the original documents. If, as you say, the company was solely
your son’s at that point, the legal documents should have verified
that. They seem to do exactly the opposite. I’ve attached the links
and copied the above info below.

A google search with the following search criteria “zaruba and
zaruba did not pay me” came up with quite a few stories that mirror
what others have complained about.

So, Mr. Zaruba, I’m having trouble believing you.

I can only hope that some enterprising art students in the DC area
will show up in front of you and your son’s businesses every major
holiday season with signs that say "Zaruba does not pay his artists"
and “Artists Zaruba has scammed have reported their jewelry sold here
as stolen to the police”. Or perhaps the aggrieved artists will get
together and hire the homeless to do it, which would be an excellent
example of both justice and mercy in action.

Personally, if a business of mine owed a bunch of honest,
hardworking folks money, I would come out of retirement and work my
heart out until I paid them back, even if it meant cooking French
fries at McDonalds. But then, I have a conscience.

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/127


#15

Sadly, there are others here on Orchid who also do not pay their
bills.

So, if you recognize yourself, PLEASE SEND ME MY SIXTY-EIGHT DOLLARS!!!

Thanks, I feel better now, but will feel even better when I receive
payment!


#16

Let me clear up a few things: I am NOT Andrew Zaruba. I sold my
business to him in 2004, and moved to Panama in December 2005. He ran
the business and I did not have any contact with it or any say in how
it was run. I also had issues with getting paid. I returned to the US
in June, 2010 and finally had to foreclose on my son in August. He
took the business, including the tools and records, and moved to
upstate NY. I do not keep in contact with him. He screwed a lot of
artists and walked away.

So much for selling one’s business…

I opened up my studio and began working again. I made jewelry and
took over the lease in the same location that Andrew left. Why not?
It’s a good location and people know it as a jewelry store. I work
long hours and take a small salary, but I have been growing my
business in spite of the economy. I know a lot of other galleries,
jewelry stores and metalsmiths who are not doing as well. Someone is
going belly-up every week. People are losing their homes. This entire
country is out-of-balance.

I left the business because I had difficulty working at the bench.
It’s not fun to be a goldsmith when your work leaves you in great
pain. Now I live on Percocet just to endure working every day. I do
not wish to continue like this. Not retiring is not an option.
Clearly, selling a business with your name on it doesn’t work either,
since a lot of people here think that even though I’d left the
business 6 years ago, I should be held responsible for the new
owner’s mistakes.

Looks like the best option is to just close up and sell the tools.

Doug
vortex13.com


#17

The Official paper work at the state of Maryland shows you as being
principle owner of the Zaruab and Zaruba Gallery. it shows Andrew
Zaruba owner in March of 2011. The info you have on your own Doug
Zaruba LInked IN Pages showing you as President of Zaruba and Zaruba
LLC. also. Quote from the show Sienfeild “remember it’s not a lie if
you believe in what you are saying”. may be you do beleive in this
school of thought, but the rest of us screwed artists by Andrew do
not beleive this is so.

No one said you are Andrew Zaruba. but you are if nothing part/full
owner in the Zaruba and Zaruba Gallery, thus making you at the least
reponsible for your partners delenquint actions. and beleive me Doug
if it was a few hundred dollars i would have let this go and not
dealt with this extreme headache since june of 2010, but as the
number of artists he has screwed over grown so has the monetary
amount which easily exceeds the 12K US$.

as to you not keeping in touch with your son, I had heard from one of
the artists in touch with you that Andrew was living at your house in
Maryland the beging of 2011? maybe this was not correct, but if so
then you were in contact with him till recently? yes the whole
country is out of balance, and the economy is doing badly, many
people, jewelers and artist are haveing a hard time,people like
Andrew are just making it ever somore dificult for the rest of us who
go by the book and keep it honest. in the field 99% of our buisness
is built on TRUST. where do you think the Zaruba name stands on that
issiue ? I googled Andrew and found him on Face book and etsy running
a buisness now out of upstate NY. he won’t respond to the telephone.
below you say you are not responsible for the new owner’s mistakes,
in july-August of 2010 one of the phonecalls I made to the Zaruba and
Zaruba tele Number, (my weekly phonecall) you answered,i asked about
my work, you replied Andrew No longer works here and that you were
back from retirment to take care of the buisness, I asked if my work
was there, you replied yes it’s in our volt and that you will pass on
the message to Andrew that I wanted my work and any payments post
shipped out right away. In October -November 2010 when we were able
to get through to you via my wifes phone ; To your credit you were
able to persuade Andrew to ship my work 30K US$ back, the payment for
sold work never showed up,still has not, every week I would call, he
would never pick up. till his phone stopped working.so forgive me for
not trusting or believing you. and if you do sell your buisness I
would hope that you would do the right thing and pay all these open
accounts from the artists and get your name back in good standing.
deal with Andrew on your own and leave this tiny cmmunity out of it.

Atelier Hratch Babikian


#18
Let me clear up a few things: I am NOT Andrew Zaruba. I sold my
business to him in 2004, and moved to Panama in December 2005. He
ran the business and I did not have any contact with it or any say
in how it was run. I also had issues with getting paid. I returned
to the US in June, 2010 and finally had to foreclose on my son in
August. He took the business, including the tools and records, and
moved to upstate NY. I do not keep in contact with him. He screwed
a lot of artists and walked away.

That’s an interesting story.

To repeat, the State of Maryland’s Department of Assessments and
Taxation, Taxpayer Services Division tells a different story.

Dept ID D04421285, Zaruba and Company, Incorporated, 12 South Market
Street, Frederick, MD 21701. Articles of Incorporation, 5/30/1996.

Dept. Action, Forfeiture, 10/08/2004. “The entity was forfeited for
failure to pay penalty of $40.00 for 2003.”

Dept Directive, 10/08/2004. “Do Not Revive without comptroller
clearance.” The original articles of incorporation are not viewable
online, so I don’t know who the original registered agent for this
company was. I assume it was you. Andrew is the current resident
agent.

Good Standing: “No”

It appears you didn’t pay your debts in 2003.

Dept ID W07895543, Zaruba & Zaruba, LLC, 35 North Market St.
Frederick, MD 21701

Articles of Organization, 04/07/2004. Scan of original document is
visible.

YOU are the Resident Agent. YOU signed the document.

Resolution to Change Resident Agent, 03/18/2011. This document
changes the Resident Agent for the corporation from YOU to Andrew.

Linda Zaruba White signed the document as an “Authorized Person”.

Good Standing: “No”

So, until 03/18/2011, as far as the State of Maryland shows in its
documents, you were the Resident Agent for the corporation.

That’s what the official government website says.


#19

Unfortunately, there are people in this life who work very hard at
never paying any of their debts, and they’ll tell lie after lie to
avoid having to do so. I know, I have a brother and an ex husband
just like that! Nothing is ever their fault - anything that goes
wrong gets blamed on those around them.

I think it may be some sort of mental illness, in that they really
do seem to believe the lies they tell - but that doesn’t relieve
them of their responsibilities.

I really hope that all the unpaid artists will eventually get their
money, and if Doug has any decency, and since he’s doing so well,
then he should indeed settle his accounts. It is very sad to read of
such dishonesty in this (or any other) community. I hate lies and
deceit with a passion.

Helen
UK


#20

Zaruba & Company, 12 S. Market St. was closed and the charter
forfeited. This is correct. I did not pay the annual $40.00 to renew
a company that was closed. If you check with the State of MD you will
see that I formally closed the company through my attorney. The
company is officially closed so it is not in good standing. This is
correct.

Zaruba & Zaruba was started when I brought my son into the business.
I was the Registered Agent. The Registered Agent is just the person
who receives legal correspondence for the company. The Registered
Agent MUST reside in the same state as the company. I sold my
interest in the company to him when I moved to Panama in December,
2005 and submitted a Letter of Resignation. I financed the sale to
him and he was to make monthly payments. This was registered in the
county courthouse.He stopped paying me. When I returned to the US in
the summer of 2010, I discovered that Andrew had failed to notify
the state that I was no longer the Registered Agent. After several
requests for him to do so, I finally had my attorney force the
change. I don’t know who the legal Registered Agent would be, since
he lives in NY now. Linda White is his mother.

What he did to the artists and customers is appalling. I foreclosed
on him in August, 2010 and forced him to return any consigned work
in the gallery. I urged him to contact any artists that he owed
money to and to at least make payment arrangements. He took his
tools, jewelry, and all records and left. I have no idea whether or
not the company is still operating or has been closed, since I do
not have any legal connection to it.

I had been doing some jewelry work on the side, but mostly sculpture
and painting. I had leased a studio in Hagerstown, MD. When he left,
I had to remove any remaining tools and equipment that belonged to
me, since they were collateral for the loan that I had made with
him. The landlord, who I knew very well, offered to lease the space
to me. It made sense to do so, so I moved my studio to Frederick.
Vortex 13 is registered in MD as an LLC. It is only my studio and I
do not have any other artists work here. I work hard, pay my bills,
and treat my customers fairly.

For a while, I tried to help his old customers and artists, but
everyone then assumed that I was to be responsible for his shit. I
has to stop. I don’t keep in contact with him, and I don’t wish to.
I only wish that I could see my grandchildren before I return to
Panama, but that doesn’t seem likely.

I had been in business for many years before I retired. I know very
well what it’s like to have a gallery default. I had some very
well-known galleries and large accounts who paid slow or not at all.
When they don’t pay, it is hard to pay your bills. It is very
painful to have my son do this to so many people and just walk away.

I hope I have made this clear. If anyone still believes that I am the
owner of Zaruba & Zaruba, I suggest that you contact your attorney
and sue me. You will quickly learn the truth. Just because you see
something on the web doesn’t make it true.