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I always chuckle to myself when I come across a common and vexing problem of magazine editing: the strange confluence of thoughts and decisions that produce unintentional repeats or overlaps in a given issue. You've probably noticed it: The sisters of two profile subjects will be named Debbie, for instance, or two writers will make separate references to time travel, or the nation of Bolivia will slip into a story in the front of the magazine and another story in the back.

There's some of that overlap in the issue you're holding in your hands--specifically, with names, themes, and kinds of animals. Our cover story is about Buck Knives, and how rocketing costs drove this family enterprise out of California and into the welcoming arms of Idaho. Founders Hoyt and his son Al, Al's son Chuck, and Chuck's son CJ Buck are all mentioned. Just a few pages away, you'll come across a feature about Fred Franzia, producer of the famously cheap wine nicknamed Two Buck Chuck. So, already we have a bunch of Bucks and a couple of Chucks. Oh, and Franzia lives and works in…California.

More than the mere coincidence of names, however, these two stories turn out to have something else in common: a theme of entrepreneurs at odds with their environments. But how differently this has affected the business decisions of CJ Buck and Fred Franzia. Buck believes he may have saved his company from "sinking," as he puts it, by leaving economically inhospitable southern California and setting up shop in Post Falls, Idaho, where he, his employees, and even his daughter (she represents the fifth generation of Bucks to work at the company) seem to have settled in nicely. Fred Franzia, on the other hand, has made his fortune by holding his ground in northern California, among the wine nobs and snobs he professes to loathe and labors to undermine. Franzia leave California? Never. On the surface, these two men couldn't be more different. But each has sought, and found, a place where his business can thrive and his ambition can be realized. And that's a message worth repeating.

(As for the weird animal redundancy in this issue? Hint: It's a moose.)

Jane Berentson

Last updated: May 1, 2006




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