Shopping Centers Today

APR 2015

Shopping Centers Today is the news magazine of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

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o b e r t F r i e d m a n is a born entrepreneur. as it happens, so is his auction.com co- founder Jeffrey Frieden, the company's Ceo. the two have been friends since high school. Perhaps many business partners can say that much, but not many can say that they have also been business partners since high school. Friedman and Frieden can, because right after graduating, they launched a con- sumer electronics business, which they ex- panded into an eight-store chain. Friedman. Later, when he and Frieden were operating their electronics stores, they brought in an auctioneer to help sell some of their scratch-and-dent and out-of-box products, and they ended up selling more merchandise in one weekend than they would typically sell in a month. "i was up on the stage helping him, and i thought: 'this is a really powerful way to sell a lot of mer- chandise fast,' " said Friedman. in fact, he became so convinced of it that he enrolled in auction school. He was still fairly new to the auction business when he chanced to meet a developer with 54 homes in South- ern California he wanted to sell. this devel- oper asked Friedman if he was interested in doing the auction, and he and Frieden R the auctioneer robert friedman turned online real estate auctions into a brand By Beth Mattson-Teig n e w s m a k e R s 78 s C T / a p r i l 2 0 1 5 "We were both entrepreneurs from the word go," said Friedman. He and Frieden come from families that expected them to follow the conventional path: enroll in college, graduate, start a career. indeed they did enroll, with a business degree as the goal. but their business grew fast — so fast that they were forced to choose between staying in school to learn about business or going on with their enterprise and actually operate a real business day to day. they chose the latter. "Frankly, our business grew so fast that we never looked back," said Friedman. interestingly, it was that electronics business that set them on the path to launching auction.com. For starters, Friedman has been a live auctioneer for about 30 years. For this he credits his grandmother, who took him to his very first auction, at age 10. "i thought, this is just really exciting and fun," recalled

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