Entrepreneur of the Month: Charles Shumanis III

8 11 2012

The face of a Lobster mogul.

Usually for the Entrepreneur of the Month segment, we like to feature a pro athlete, musician or movie star who’ve recently taken on a new business venture that’s sure to make them a boatload of extra cash. This week, we were forced to call an audible at the EOTM line of scrimmage when I stumbled upon the story of a man with one of the greatest entrepreneurial spirits we’ve ever seen. This man, Charles Shumanis III, used his crippling drug habit to single-handedly revolutionize the seafood industry.

Sadly, just a few hours ago America found out Shumanis was sentenced to 25 years in prison for his actions, but let’s not muddy up this EOTM with a silly little quarter-century prison sentence. The man is a visionary.

For those not up to speed on the this business legend, let me quickly fill you in. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Charles developed a massive drug habit at some point during his life. It’s unclear when, but we’ll assume it was real early on. After jumping from job to job for years, Charles eventually found himself unemployed, 47 years old and in need of some dope in a major way. It was at this point that he made a life-altering decision that’s bound to change the way junkies illegally acquire drugs forever. He began stealing lobsters and other various seafoods and meats from grocery stores and super markets around the Allentown, PA area. The details get a little loose here, but we can assume he then hatched a plan to then sell these lobsters at below market price, and use the earnings to load up on a shitload of sweet drugs. Police say Shumanis used this tactic on numerous occasions, including a botched attempt that featured a carjacking, before he was eventually caught with $350 worth of lobsters in his coat, leaving a supermarket. Nobody knows exactly how many lobsters Charles stole and slanged on the block, but I think we can all assume it was quite a few.

At this point you’re probably thinking to yourself, hey JD, this sounds more like a dumbass coke head stealing seafood so he can buy the next 8 ball than an Entrepreneur of the Month. Wrong. Pump the breaks. Let’s examine the facts here, guys.

What do people love more than fresh lobster? Low priced fresh lobster. Bingo. And I don’t know about you guys, but when I buy my seafood I prefer to get it fast from druggie drifters in trench coats standing right outside the market than waiting for hours in line at the seafood counter while some lady can’t decide how many pounds of shrimp she needs for Backgammon night. So from the start, Charles had a leg up on traditional seafood purchasing. Plus, you know a forward thinking businessman like Charles probably threw deals together like buy two lobsters, get a stolen ham for free. Buying from him was basically a no brainer. He instantly created demand. Dude cornered the Allentown seafood market within minutes.

But, we’ve got to take a look at this from a junkies perspective too. I’ve never been addicted to crack, so I can only hypothesize, but from what I’ve heard most junkies pressed for cash resort to one of three things: begging, armed robbery or selling their body. Charles said fuck it and re-wrote the shit out of the junkie handbook. Hey guys at the dope house, have fun slobbin knob for nickels, I’ll be over here pushin top of the line snow crab like a G. And when you get down to it, that’s the type of outside the box thinking that makes entrepreneurs successful. How can I do it better? How can I give people what they want differently? But most importantly, how can I make enough money to buy a duffel bag blow and not get mouth-AIDS in the process? The answer to all three of those questions my friends, was seafood thievery.

Unfortunately, some of America’s greatest thinkers are also the most persecuted. You can’t rewrite the script without incurring a few risks. Look at Gordon Gekko. He did 25 hard years, but came back better than ever, minus a hefty case of throat cancer. Charles may be heading in for a while, but the most important thing is the impact he had on the outside. Don’t be surprised when your neighborhood hobo stops begging and starts offering inside deals on fresh seabass.

So there’s a lesson to be taken in the story of Charles Shumanis III, kiddos. That lesson is an important one. If you find yourself strapped for cash and in need of some crack, just steal seafood.

– JD




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