Our Neighbor Was a Millionaire

I grew up in Lodi, California, a small town 30 miles south of Sacramento. My Mom used to say that our neighbor on the other side of our backyard fence was a millionaire. I didn’t know him personally, but I always wondered how he became a millionaire, because we lived in the same modest neighborhood. Years later, I found a newspaper article that my Mom saved about our neighbor, Fred Baybarz.

At the time of the article, Fred Baybarz was 64 years old. I believe the article was written sometime in the 1970s. The article describes Fred as dynamic and handsome, and said that he probably singlehandedly did more for Lodi’s economy than any person in the past two decades.

Fred started a small industrial products company, built it up, then sold it. He started another small company, built it up, then sold it. He did it again, and at the time of the article, he was working on his fourth company.

His secret to success? He found a need, and filled it. Each of his businesses was built by meeting a need, by supplying products in demand to industrial users. He never sold to the retail market.

A lot of people dream about getting rich because they have an idea for a new invention or product. But Fred Baybarz had a slightly different approach. Instead of trying to invent something new, he looked for existing needs and figured out ways to meet those needs.

Fred’s earliest trade was carpentry, which probably helped him later in manufacturing industrial products. Some of his characteristics: He loves a challenge. When one challenge is met, he is ready for another. He had an uncanny sense and knowledge of what is going on. He also likes people, and enjoys giving employment to people. Fred had the right personality, drive and determination to make his businesses successful.

I personally may not have been able to do what Fred Baybarz did, but I’m sure there are people who are reading this who could do it, not necessarily in industrial products, but in any business. Find an existing need, and figure out a way to meet that need.

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