About Sandi

I was born on a farm in 1946 nearby a little town called Frederick, South Dakota. Frederick only had approximately 500 + people who lived there, so every Saturday we had to drive to Aberdeen. South Dakota which was about a 30 minute drive each way to do all of our shopping for the week. I have always loved cooking. My mother was a wonderful mentor as she always loved cooking and baking and showed me how to do it too. Her specialty was baking.

When I was old enough to read, I started cooking, making my own food from recipe books. My first cookbook was a Mary Allen Junior cookbook. I made every recipe in the book and graduated with a certificate at the age of 10 years old. That cookbook was given to my granddaughter, Brie when she was 10 years old.

We moved from our farm to Aberdeen when I was nine years old. My father would pay me a quarter every night to pop popcorn for him as he loved popcorn. My older sister loved homemade pizza, so I would always offer to make her pizza. I wore out a small cookie cookbook making almost every cookie recipe in it which I still have today.

My hobby all my life has been to collect cookbooks, I have over 500 cookbooks today and still love looking thru them for ideas

I was using my mother’s Better Homes and Garden cookbook to the point she ended up buying me my own version of the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. Hers was the 11th edition and mine is the 13th edition. I still have both of those cookbooks today. They are quite worn and the covers have been glued back on but they still have all of the beautiful recipes to make and enjoy.

My mother worked at Mother Joseph Manor when it opened in Aberdeen across the street from our house. She was employed there as their number one Baker. She loved baking and made recipes to feed over 100 people every day. When I turned 16 and could legally go to work, I applied at the Manor in the kitchen to cook and serve trays to patients. My mother was making $.60 an hour and she had been working there for almost 2 years when I applied for my job. I negotiated my salary to be $1 an hour. My mother was so upset that she had been working there for two years and was only making $.,60 an hour. She decided to threaten to quit unless she got a raise since they had agreed to hire me at $1 an hour. Of course, they gave her the raise. She was so appreciative that I had opened the door for her as she then realized that you need to stand up for yourself and can negotiate what you believe you are worth or you will stay where you are.

I later went to work for a clothing company, Pred’s in Aberdeen where I could get discounts and have beautiful clothes to wear. I never stopped cooking. When I came home from school or work I always continued to cook in my spare time.

When I was between my freshman and sophomore year in college, I wanted to get out of South Dakota and see what the rest of the country was like. I applied for a job through the mail at a place called The Post House in Long Beach, California. I didn’t know anyone there so they told me I could live at the YMCA up the street until I could find an apartment that I could afford. Since I was only there for the summer, I thought that would be fine.

I had no idea what I was in for, but I was anxious to go. try it. It was the opportunity of a lifetime for me. I flew to California and took the job as a waitress in the restaurant at the Post House on Long Beach Blvd. The Post House does not exist today, but all those wonderful memories still do!

After I was working there for about a week there was a man and his son who worked at the Merrill Lynch office behind the Post House who would come in every morning and afternoon for coffee. They would always leave tips five times the cost of the coffee for me. After about three weeks of them coming in and discussing who I was and why I had decided to go to California for the summer, and knowing that I was still living at the YMCA, the man brought in his wife and daughter to meet me. His daughter was the same age as I was. They lived on the water and their children loved boating and wanted to learn how to water ski.

I had been water skiing since I was 14 in Aberdeen and knew how to water ski. They made me an offer that I would get room and board at their home for $5 a month if I would teach their children how to water ski and cook for them on days that I was not teaching them water skiing after work. They called my parents and had many conversations with them about my curfew at home before I went to California. They put me on the same curfew as my parents had me on in South Dakota. The arrangement turned out great and far better than living in the YMCA.

At the end of the summer, my parents sent me an airplane ticket to go back to school and I tore it up because I wanted to stay in California. My father decided he was not going to let me stay in California and drove by himself from South Dakota to California to get me. He arrived on a Wednesday morning at 7:30 am and told me to get into the car as he had already signed me up for classes starting the following Tuesday at Northern State College. I agreed, and went back to college, but not for long!.

After a year and a half, a friend of mine and I decided we wanted to go see the world again. She and I agreed to move to Miami, Florida, together. The only people we knew was a sister to a guy I had been dating in Aberdeen. She and her husband agreed to have Judy and I stay at their home until we could get an apartment and a job. She took us to First National Bank of Miami, later became a Southeast Bank, on Brickell Avenue to apply for jobs. Both Judy and I got jobs there in the personnel department. After three months, I was promoted to the Loan department and Judy decided she wanted to go back to Aberdeen. I stayed and kept the apartment by myself. I was able to pay for the apartment by myself with my promotion in the new job and pay raise.

After a year, I moved into a friend of mine‘s house in South Miami and live there for about a year with she and her Mother.

When I was 22 years old, I was involved in a very bad boating accident. I was thrown out of the boat and the prop got my leg. I was incredibly fortunate not to have lost the use of my leg. I harmed my hearing badly from the impact.

When I was 24, I moved into an apartment complex located off the Palmetto Express into Lakeview Gardens. It was there that I met my husband whom I am still married to today. We knew each other for only five months before we got married. That was over 48 years ago.

After we got married we went on a honeymoon for three days at the newly opened DisneyWorld in Orlando. We returned to close on our first condominium. We moved to another townhouse 16 months later into Hidden Valley Golf Course in Coral Gables, Florida. I remember asking my neighbor to come over to let the drapery people in my bedroom to install the cornices and her comment afterwards was, “that is the first time I have ever seen a night stand with a stack of cookbooks on it “. Cooking was always my stress reliever and it was my bedtime reading. I started to collect cookbooks. I always asked for cookbooks for every Birthday or Christmas or whatever present as I loved finding new recipes in them and looking at the pictures.

After a couple of years working for the bank, they made an announcement that a new type of banking was going to be introduced. They were going to be having a credit card called Master Charge (now called MasterCard) that was going to be the new way of doing banking. Our competition was Visa coming out by Bank of America. They needed sales people to go out on the streets and sell the merchants to accept this new type of payment for their Products. They also had to open a checking account with the bank. I decided I wanted to apply for the job having had 18 months of sales experience while I went to college working for Kirkpatrick’s Jewelry store in Aberdeen so I knew I could sell. They told me that they were not going to allow women selling out on the street, but after much negotiations, I ended up being the first woman they hired. They ended up hiring four other women after me so there was a team of five women. We outsold the men by large numbers that was very surprising to them. I even sold Lanica Airlines and because I sold the program, they sent me down to Nicaragua to train their personnel on how to implement the program. I could only speak a couple words of Spanish, so the entire training had to be done by an interpreter. I was given the royal treatment while I was there including a private airplane tour of the Country by the President of the Country’s son. His son gave me a beautiful Goat Handbag as a special gift with an open invitation to return any time. I could not believe it and how much progress I was making being the farm girl from SD.

I had a sales quota of 3 Sales a day, which was not an easy task because only 5 years earlier the Pan American Card had come out with the same promises to merchants and it failed!! It took merchants for many thousands of dollars. They were very skeptical to try another bank card plan, to say the least. As long as I made my quota of three sales per day, I could cut off and do whatever I wanted the rest of the day. Needless to say, I had a lot of extra free time to do whatever I wanted to do…which was cooking!

I worked for the bank for seven years until they decided that we would need to keep all of the supplies in the trunks of our cars and start making deliveries to our merchants while wearing miniskirts. I was approached in a parking lot by four men who tried to come after me in my car. Fortunately, a police car happened to be driving through the lot while this was happening. I laid on the horn at which point they jumped back in their car and took off with the police car approaching!

It scared me so badly that I decided I was not going to be out on the street anymore in a miniskirt leaning over a trunk getting supplies out. I decided it was time to adventure into a new field…Real Estate. While I was getting my license for real estate I went to work for a clothing company called, Whatchamacallit Fashions.

After I got my real estate license, I went to work for the Green Companies in the Dadeland Towers in South Florida as a Leasing Agent until 1975 when my husband decided to join his Father in a Company his Father had helped start,called Kramer Chemicals, in Paterson, New Jersey.

We Moved from Miami Florida to Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, in 1975. I answered an ad in the paper for a job in the ad specialty industry. I got the job as the assistant to the man who had just started the business. He was the best mentor anyone could ever ask for. It was called Christopher Advertising in Wyckoff, New Jersey. I remember the first time I went to one of the seminars in Saddlebrook, New Jersey, at an hotel. There were over 300 Salespeople in the seminar. Only nine were women. All of the rest were men. Today there are probably more women in this industry then men.

When I got pregnant with our daughter, Jennifer, in 1978, I decided to start my own business in the ad specialty industry. While I was pregnant, I would make sales calls.

My husband decided that he would also like to be in his own business and so he quit his job to join and support me. We had just purchased a brand new home and three months later I got pregnant after being married over 7 years!

We went to the bank as I was almost ready to deliver and asked for a loan against our home to start our own business. The banker gave us the loan and to this day we still laugh about the fact that he thought I was going to deliver the baby in his office and decided to quickly give us the loan. We decided to buy a TriMark Coupon Advertising Company too. When Jennifer was six weeks old we went to our first seminar in Bermuda and took her with us. It was a week of seminars and meetings and she was fantastic throughout the entire week. I was nursing her throughout the entire week too.

While living in NJ, I belonged to the Jr. League Club and we started a Cooking Club where each month a member hosted a dinner at their home. Each month it was a different theme and all recipes were cooked by the individual members. They had to be a recipe made for that theme. At the end of the year, we made a cookbook for all the members with all the recipes in them that were made that year. My husband and I continued with the at specialty business only he expanded it into a full marketing and advertising agency which became a very successful company. It was called Weber Hembrough Tennant and Lynn Ad Agency. it was voted one of the top 500 Ad Agencies in the tri-state area by Inc. Magazine.

Shortly after that I had our Second child, a boy, in 1982…Scott.

We traveled a great deal because part of our business was incentive programs for corporations and much of it included trips either on a Cruise ship or traveling around the world.

In 1978, the Scottsdale Princess had just been built in Scottsdale, Arizona. Since we did so much in the travel and convention and incentive business, they reached out to us to come to Scottsdale to visit hoping that we would bring some of our clients to Scottsdale for a convention and/or incentive trip. We agreed to do that and flew out to Scottsdale to check it out.

While we were waiting for our room to get ready., we decided to take a drive north to Carefree. We fell in love with Carefree and decided to buy a piece of property to build a winter home on. While we were checking out property, the person who took us around to show us the property was helping a friend who had cancer and we became very good friends… and eventually partners in a new business adventure called Old West Outfitters. We funded the new business and my husband, Bruce, would fly out often to check things out.

After a few months went by, they asked us to come out with the kids for Thanksgiving and have a Thanksgiving cook out in the desert. We did that. Our kids fell in love with Arizona as well. While we are at a New Year’s party with some friends in New Jersey, two of the couples that were longtime friends approached us about selling our business in New Jersey knowing how much we loved Arizona and that we had agreed to fund the new western wear business in Arizona. They offered to buy our business. We thought about it and after the kids loved Arizona we all agreed to move. We sold our house which was in a private guarded gated community in the middle of the winter through an ad in the Architectural Digest with a picture of the house in six weeks so we felt it was meant to be. We sold the business and moved to Arizona in June, 1989.

I joined my husband in the new business in Old West outfitters when we move to Arizona but always continued to use the advertising specialty business for purchasing merchandise for our retail store and Catalogs.

This was great while the western wear was very hot .We did clothing for movies such as Lonesome Dove and for such celebrities as Roy Rogers and Gene Auntry. Around 1992, the western wear business was slowing down so I decided to go back into the ad specialty business full-time.

Today, it is both an on-line business and also a “street” model called Sole Images. I still love cooking and have always had that as a passion. Cooking has always been my stress reliever too!

I have book shelves filled with nothing but cookbooks….hundreds and hundreds of them including my Mother’s cookbooks which I got when she passed away too. Whenever we traveled abroad, I always wanted to get a cookbook to bring back.

We have traveled a lot throughout the years and have found many wonderful recipes from across the globe that are wonderful.

Today, instead of retiring, I have decided to start a new adventure call Sandi’s Pantry.