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Turning The Page

Catalog maven John Peterman deals with a new chapter . . . Chapter 11.

This story appears in the April 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

John Peterman started J. Peterman Co. and its legendarymail-order catalog in 1987 with a $20,000 unsecured loan. Thecompany had annual sales of $75 million by the time it wentbank-rupt in January 1999, a victim of excessively fast growth. Inbetween, the J. Peterman persona became part of pop asactor John O'Hurley portrayed Peterman as Elaine's boss onSeinfeld.

Peterman still has his hands full, working on a book due out inOctober, Never Take No for an Answer (Prentice-Hall), and, a multimedia business devoted to shopping theworld. This mail-order icon recently took some time out to discusswhat he did right . . . and wrong.

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