Paso del Norte Entrepreneurship Oral History Project
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Don Shapiro was born August 18 1927. He is the son of Sylvia Ann Lebost and Isadore Shapiro. His brother is George L. Shapiro. Don attended school in New York and college at New York University. Don is a veteran of the United States Naval Reserve. Don is the owner of Coronado Consulting and Coronado Roofing in El Paso, Texas. Don currently resides in El Paso and he is married to Bobbie and they have three children, Steve, Randy and Lori.
Summary of Interview
Don Shapiro was born and raised in the New York Metropolitan Area. In the 1930’s Don’s father Isadore worked in the fur district in New York City. When Don graduated from high school, he joined the United States Naval Reserve during World War II. After WWII, Done atteneded NYU and got a degree in accounting. After graduating NYU, he became a door to door salesman in New York City. After a time in New York, Don and his friend Harry Katz decided to drive cross country to California and work to earn money along the way. They started by driving a limousine for a car dealership to Fort Worth. In Fort Worth they got jobs working in freight and after a period of time, Don and Harry decided to purchase a used car to continue to California. They drove to El Paso, Texas and got jobs at Franklin Department Store. Don worked for a short time with this company and decided to work selling surgical supplies instead. Harry was stayed with Franklin and became a very successful retailer. While Don was selling surgical supplies, he met Florence Cullham who owned Western Manufacturers Representatives and wanted Don to sell her clothes. Don considered the option while he briefly went back to New York. In 1952 When Don returned to El Paso, he worked for Florence for one year, he took over some of the lines and then obtained some lines of his own and began selling on the road. It was while selling on the road that Don met his wife Bobbie while she worked at Majestic Knitting Mill. Every six months Don would return to for one week to New York to work at Majestic Knitting Mill in order to keep in touch with his manufacturers. Don and Bobbie kept up a relationship for a few weeks and decided to marry. For their first eight months together, Don and Bobbie traveled selling garments and enjoying an extended honeymoon. Don was in the selling business for approximately 12 years before he went into business for himself with American Stretch. Don went into a partnership with Leon Majors and opened their business, Don Leon, in the 1960’s. Don Leon was the production end of American Stretch. During the 1960’s Don met a man named Douglas Rose who was manufacturing hosiery and persuaded Don to sell hosiery. Don sold some garment lines and went into hosiery as well. In 1974, Don got into jean manufacturing and purchased a company called Action West. Don’s garment manufacturing grew and eventually due to union activity and cheaper production, Don moved his business to México. In the 1980’s the manufacturer and retailer relationship shifted, businesses started going to China, Don decided to leave the garment business and he sold Action West to Fred Sternburg. This sell allowed Don to move into another field of business. Don started up Coronado Consulting. Coronado Consulting owns seven buildings and they are all operating. In 2003 Don started Coronado Contractors which is a roofing company. Don’s advice for entrepreneurs is to do right by your client, love what you do and the money will follow.
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GMR Transcription Services
Interview with Don Shapiro by Kristine Navarro, 2010, "Interview no. 1489," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.