“Mr. Alexander,” Sid introduced himself on the telephone. “You don’t know me, but I’d like to work with you. Dorothy, my wife, took a class from one of your students in Vancouver and we have had a heck of a time getting your Magic White. People ought to be able to buy it without going through the trouble we had to find it. I’d like to help you market it.”
Although the proposition interested Bill, he wanted to know more about his new potential partner. Sid continued telling Bill about himself. He had been a trucker, based in Vancouver. He traveled up and down the Pacific Coast. He had been a lumberjack and had worked in a steelyard as a crane operator. Sid didn’t know “beans about art,” as he put it to Bill, but he got excited when he saw Dorothy’s paintings. Sid was fifty years old and was looking for a career change.
The marketing of Bill’s products was a disappointment to both Margarete and Bill. The popularity of Bill’s television show also brought a lot of unwanted attention. Many people came forward offering Bill advice on how he should be running his business. It was disconcerting to say the least.
“What about the television program?” Bill asked. He was suspicious. “How do we handle that?”
“What television program?” Sid asked. Sid wasn’t aware of Bill’s television popularity. Taken aback, Bill chided himself for assuming that everyone knew of his success. As Bill and Sid continued talking, Bill began to feel he could trust Sid.
Sid and Dorothy traveled to Powell River to meet Bill and Margarete in the Spring of 1977. They all became fast friends. Bill liked Sid and Dorothy’s straightforward nature and charm. Sid wore a plain brown suit with an open shirt collar. His casual dress put Bill at ease.
Sid shared his ideas about marketing. They discussed the logistics of getting products to viewers who wanted them.
Sid looked Bill right in the eye, and said, “Bill, you can count on me. When you want anything done, just call on the guy in the brown suit.”
It still took some time to get all their ducks in a row. Sid mortgaged his home and, with Pat Welter and her father Robert Hughley, formed a company in Salem Oregon. They worked hard to get “Magic Art” materials delivered around the United States. Sid also worked with Bill on his personal tours in the shopping centers and malls.
One day, Sid phoned and said, “Bill, it’s the guy in the brown suit. We got one of our biggest orders yet. It was from Aaron Brothers who have fifty-five art stores in California, Arizona, and Nevada. And they want materials for every store! That ought to put us on our way.”
That was great news after all those years of scraping and eking out a living. More important to Bill and Margarete, though, was the friendship they found with Sid and Dorothy.
Everything was coming together, now. Bill had good folks helping him. He was reaching more people as a teacher than he ever imagined. And his tools of the trade were available for everyone to use.