By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – At an age most adults are retired or contemplating retirement, Bob Tradnack started a new job.
That was 14 years ago, and Tradnack, now 83 years young, still isn’t ready to stop.
“I love to work,” he said.
Tradnack was given the Tupelo Furniture Market’s Manufacturer’s Representative Award on Friday, an unexpected surprise for him.
But for his colleagues in the company he represents, Cramco, it’s an honor he deserves.
“Bob is the first one to the market and the last one to leave,” said Dave Shock, Cramco’s sales manager. “He’s also our unofficial showroom manager. If he sees someone walk in unattached, he’ll find a rep or he’ll help them himself.
“He always treats customers with respect and honesty.”
Born in Jacksonville, Fla., Tradnack moved to Atlanta a decade later in 1939. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1946. He started his sales career with Brown Distributors in Atlanta, where he sold Philco TVs and appliances from 1951-60.
He went to work for Bassett Furniture until 1972, then was an independent furniture rep for more than 20 years.
In 1998, he went to work for Cramco.
For Tradnack, there’s not much else he’d rather do. He plays golf with friends, and up to two years ago was playing tennis.
“And I have to work because I have two ex-wives, named plaintiff No. 1 and plaintiff No. 2, plus kids, grandchildren and great-grandchildren,” he said with a laugh. “I was running out of money.”
Having worked with customers spanning more than 50 years, Tradnack said having them as friends has been the most enjoyable part of his job.
“They truly are my friends and not just an account,” he said. “They’ve become lifelong friends.”
Tradnack isn’t traveling as much as he used to, but he’s lost track of how many cars he’s worn out over the years. His territory is mainly south Georgia now.
Fellow sales reps often tap him for advice. Tradnack gives them a simple answer: “Just go to work. That’s all you need to do.”
And one last zinger: When asked what the secret to his success is, Tradnack said with a straight face, “I haven’t died yet.”