August 2022 Ruminations & Ronnifications

As you may know, we are celebrating our 50th year in business, and our 40th year in Greenvale where we will be having a ribbon cutting ceremony in October of this year with our vendors, our key employees (although one could argue all of our employees are key and an integral part of our success over these past fifty years), and our local politicians on our expansion of outdoor dining as well as a makeover of the Greenvale restaurant giving it a more modern look. This has been a key to our success which is to innovate and keep up with the times.

Wow! And yes, I am still surprised that Ben’s 50th year is upon us as I sit in my home office and wonder where all the years have gone. Then I was a starry eyed, idealistic young man and now I am a 74 year old grizzled (and some say grumpy) senior citizen. I’ve learned things I could never learn in college. In fact, I recommend this type of education for everyone no matter their background nor educational pedigree. What I have learned about people, vendors, and government can only be learned in what I call, “the trenches.”

And there I have been for 47 of those years with my wife Cindy and major support throughout the years. Who else would tolerate the hours and days I worked other than my best friend, companion and mother of our two children, Joshua and Jaime? Without such support I could never have grown Ben’s from a single store to as many as ten but now with six still standing despite the Pandemic and an upside down world. For that I am thankful to my family and ask forgiveness for all the birthdays, weddings and special occasions that Cindy, Josh and Jaime missed their daddy. My family gave up much but we all gained much from of our efforts. Not bad for a kid who lived in eight different places by age 14 whose family was evicted from apartments multiple times and whose parents one excursion into home ownership at age 6 resulted in a mortgage foreclosure two years later. All this made me, for better or worse, strive for success as I defined it. So now I must also thank all our patrons–past and present–for helping me continue on this journey.

With best regards,
Ronnie Dragoon

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