We set the bar high early on at our first appearance at Pop Up Ave in downtown State College.
That’s where we were on the beautiful first day of fall, Sept. 22, 2018, setting up the Stay big top in preparation for the outdoor urban flea.
Penn State football coach James Franklin, fresh off the Nittany Lions’ rout of host Illinois the night before, already was up and at ’em before the Pop Up Ave’s official opening at 11 a.m.
He was our first customer.
Next in line was Bill Zimmerman, an affable event volunteer who in our limited exchange struck me as someone I’d enjoy chatting with again.
For me, that opportunity arose on Nov. 30, when I had the good fortune to sit down with Bill in State College for his podcast, “Happy Valley Hustle.”
In the introduction to each episode, Bill describes it as “the podcast that tells the stories of people running their own businesses, launching side hustles, and making the digital age work for them.”
Bill hails from Johnstown, Pa., which, as I explained on the podcast, has special meaning to me because the first professional hockey game I saw in person pitted my hometown Maine Nordiques against the visiting Johnstown Jets.
Like me, Bill has a newspaper reporting and public relations background. He’s currently a lecturer for the digital PR and PR, media and methods courses in Penn State's Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications.
He’s also a big fan of professional wrestling, hence the Hustle’s prop championship belt that I got to pose with in the photo above.
I’m honored that Bill wanted to hear Stay’s story and to be the podcast’s first guest of 2019. I hope you’ll listen to my episode and check out the others. (I’m partial to episode six, which features Brad Groznik, who with his wife, Andrea, started Pop Up Ave.)
Before you do, however, I want to correct something I said on the podcast. At Bill’s request, I described our new tee, which bears a heart doodled two decades ago by novelist John Updike. I said that Updike was from Wyomissing, Berks County.
That’s close but incorrect. Updike grew up three miles south, in Shillington. In fact, a group is trying to preserve his boyhood home, at 117 Philadelphia Ave., anticipating a 2020 opening for public tours.
Thanks to Bill for inviting and interviewing; thanks to you for reading and listening.
That’s it for me. I have to keep hustling.