John R. Gehring
'52 A.S., Business
Gehring Office Equipment
Before he owned Gehring Office Equipment and the Lincolnwood Organ & Piano Centres, before he sold typewriters for the Underwood Typewriter company, even before he hawked glittering stones and shiny bracelets on the floor of Michael’s Jewelers when he was in high school, John Gehring was a consummate salesman.
When he was a small boy – and liking the feel of a penny in his pocket from delivering groceries from his parents’ Meriden store - he would pack up his bicycle with hot dogs, soda and ice cream, and sell them at baseball games in town. But as much as he hustled for the money he made, he did it in the courtliest manner possible. He was always polite to the point of kindness, and always made his customer feel like friends, so that they actually became his friends. He went out of his way to share the fruits of his labors, finding furniture for non-profit organizations, sharing his expertise with younger salespeople, and improving a community with good service and a helping hand. He ran his businesses with a basic principle: “I treated my customers the way I would like to be treated myself,” he says.
He has worked his entire life to make a living, and is now enjoying his retirement in Marco Island, Fla., with his beloved wife, Leona – who he met, not surprisingly, on the job – and their two white schnauzers, Sunshine and Snowflake. And he generously credits his advancement in his chosen profession to the University of New Haven, where he earned an associate’s degree in 1952.
“The University gave me a path to follow,” he says. “My business was made more successful because of what I learned there.”