Stan Good, 63, opened his first clock repair shop in Tampa in 1976 and continues to keep the city's clocks ticking from his shop, Stan Good Clocks, at 107 S Macdill Ave. The self-taught horologist and peripatetic conversationalist talked with the Times' Asjylyn Loder about the recession, his business philosophy, his musical aspirations and his collection of more than 1,500 antique fans.
How did you get started in clocks?
I started out as a cartoonist. It's been a long, circuitous route, believe me.
My recession started three years ago. When the recession hit, it hit here first. We're a luxury business. I wouldn't have survived if it hadn't been for the repair side of the business. My other hobby is songwriting.
How's that going?
I've got stuff about to be performed. It's a failed-economy concert. The song is WD-40 the Economy. Another song, Give Me a Couple Billion of Them Bailout Bucks, will probably be the big hit.
So how did you get into fans?
I got a flea market habit from living in Europe. I went to flea markets and started finding fans for $10 or $15 that turned out to be $350 fans.
You have a lot of fans in here.
I have the third largest fan collection in the world. Which means nothing. That and 50 cents will get you a Krispy Kreme.
How do you know it's the third-largest collection?
Well, I was one of the 28 members who originally founded something called the American Fan Collectors Association back in 1988. It's now called the Antique Fan Collectors Association.
Where are the two bigger collections?
The biggest collection is out in St. Louis and it's 5,000 fans. The second biggest is out in the Ozarks and has 4,000.
What are you going to do with them?
I'm trying to start a fan museum next door. We've been keeping that house up for years on credit cards. It's gotten to the point where that house has to start generating money. Hopefully, people will be interested in fans. We have an ad that looks like a ransom note. It says, "We have your grandma's fan."
So how did you get into clocks?
It was in 1968. I didn't want to be a Vietnam vet in America, so I hitchhiked to the Pentagon to get my orders changed. This scene should be in a movie. It was myself, another scared kid, and this old sarge who said to me, "You want your orders changed. You've been to 'Nam. I'll send you anywhere you want to go." The other kid hadn't been to Vietnam, and the sergeant told him, "You're going to 'Nam." I ended up in Heidelberg, (Germany).
Where do the clocks come in?
I wandered around town and found a shop that was a wholesaler for clocks. They needed someone to strip the silver off the old corroded brass dials and reletter the bright brass. They found I had an art degree and asked, "Can you do this?" I lied and said I could.
And here you are, decades later, with a clock shop.
I don't get rich on it. I haven't yet, and I doubt I ever will. There's a story about a kid. His grandma used to beat him at Monopoly, buying everything up. He finally learned how to beat her, and piled up property and money. The coup de grace, she tells him, "Just remember, at the end of the game, it all goes back in the box." That's how I feel. At the end of the game, it all goes back in the box.
Asjylyn Loder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 225-3117.