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Creative Leisure News
306 Parker Circle
Lawrence, KS 66049
Phone: 785-760-5071
Email: mike@clnonline.com


A view of the industry through the eyes of a chain buyer.

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Memories of an Old Friend

Lots of years, lots of fun with Mike Dupey.

by Howard Hoffman (May 17, 2010)

(Note: Howard worked for Mike Dupey for more than 20 years.)

Here are a few of my favorite stories. There are so many I could go on for days.

When my wife Pat and I decided we were going to have a child, Mike went out and bought an 8-ft. stork and had it brought over to our house and placed at the end of the bed. He told me at my age I would need the Great Stork present if I wanted to get Pat pregnant. It worked, and today Sophie is 15 and an exceptional young lady.

Halloween was always a special day. We all dressed up and there was a costume contest: 1st place was $500, 2nd was $400, 3rd was $300, and 4th thru 10th was $100 each. Very little work got done, although there was some very serious work done on costumes to try to win some money. It was a day we all looked forward to.

Easter candy buying was a unique experience. We saw all the vendors and collected samples of the candy. We would put a day aside and set up tables in the hall and put out all of the candy with its packaging and pricing. Next we went thru and selected what we wanted and how much. Then came the candy fights. It was an annual event we all looked forward to, but cleaning it up wasn’t nearly as much fun. Mike not only helped in making the mess, he also helped clean up.

Mike was always complaining about how messy my office was. One day I walked into my office and found everything piled up on my desk. I mean everything: my bookcase, files, chairs, papers, and samples. There was a note that said, “Now your office looks good, but you need to straighten out your desk.”

We saw the movie, Grumpy Old Men, and about three weeks later I noticed a funny smell in my office. I found dead shrimp hidden in the back of my desk.

We would make a lot of $10.00 bets. When Mike won, he would always frame the $10 bill with some “I told you so” comment about winning and then give it back to me to hang on my wall. Today I have a large, acrylic frame with a $10 bill surrounded by a grapevine wreath with a message below stating, “Howard, will you ever learn?”

At Christmas Mike would decorate his house. When I say decorate, I’m talking about Macy’s windows in New York and thousands of lights. The police would make his street one-way for the holiday season to be able to handle the traffic. Many nights Mike would be outside handing out candy to the kids. He always treated children exceptionally well.

Mike was generous almost to a fault. He always stayed at the best hotels and traveled first class. Anyone on the trip with him also went first class, stayed in the same hotels and enjoyed the same restaurants. When he went on vacation he always brought something back for us – and what it cost played no part in the decision of what to get.

Mike was a stickler for being on time and he would leave without you if you were late. For example, we were in New York and our meeting time was 3:00 pm  When I got there at 3:03, the car was gone. Fifteen minutes later when I realized I was really left, I found my way back to the hotel. He laughed about that for a long time.

I was late getting to the airport one day and of course Mike was already on the plane in his seat. The problem was that we were going to New York and he was on the plane to Los Angeles. I spent a good deal of time deciding if I would let him go to LA or get him off the plane. 

When we went to New York we stayed at the Ritz Carlton. Everyone there knew Mike and he was very comfortable there. We were always doing something to try to lose weight, including the Jenny Craig Diet. When Mike went on a diet, he didn’t waver, which is why he brought a microwave as baggage to the Ritz so he could cook our Jenny Craig meals in the room. Have microwave, will travel.

Everyone has heard of a food fight; well, we had our own version: the office fight. You never knew what to expect when you walked into Mike’s office; it could be a high volume, super-shot water gun or a bucket of glitter. We had more fun throwing things at each other and figuring out how to get a heads up. One day I brought this high-power water gun to work, filled it up and kept it hidden until the right time came. I went up to Mike’s office pulled out the gun, and started soaking him down, then I ran with him chasing me. I beat him to my office and locked the door, taunting him through it. A short time later, with me still standing by the door, I am hit with this huge quantity of water. Mike had filled a bucket, took the ceiling tiles off on both sides of the door and dumped the water on my head. Needles to say, he won that round.

Mike has helped many people in the industry. He was a unique individual, to say the least. I treasure our times together. There are a lot of mixed feelings about Mike, but the one thing that is absolutely true is that anyone who worked with Mike ended up better than if they hadn’t. He touched and helped hundreds of people.

I will miss him. 

(Note: Countless others have their own stories about Mike. Many are available in Business-Wise.)




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