Rosalie Pack is busy minding the store in South...


April 03, 1994|By Stephanie Shapiro

Rosalie Pack is busy minding the store in South Baltimore

Before Rosalie's store opened, residents of Brooklyn Homes, many of them without transportation, trudged 10 hard blocks to Patapsco Avenue for milk, bread, diapers, cat food, chips and other sundries.

An instinct for business and a strong sense of social responsibility led Rosalie Pack, also a Brooklyn Homes resident, to open her store last December in the heart of the South Baltimore housing project.

Now, basic foodstuffs and frills are readily available to the community, at little or no markup. Ms. Pack is not in this for grand profit -- "Just enough to support myself," she says while tending to customers.

"Next time you come in, you owe me three cents," she tells one woman who comes up short.

"You're an angel," she tells another woman, who has recycled a bunch of blue plastic shopping bags.

"How's your mom?" she asks another customer.

The mother of seven grown children, Ms. Pack, 51, has lived in Brooklyn Homes for 23 years. She has always contributed to the community, serving as a scout leader, organizing the annual Brooklyn Day summer festival, running a food co-op and cooking massive Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

Now, Ms. Pack delivers groceries to the homebound and runs a '' cake and catering service as well.

She received training through a state program to assist small-business owners and pays a modest rent to the city's housing authority. After paying off start-up loans, Ms. Pack hopes to employ other Brooklyn Homes residents, establish a scholarship fund and sponsor a little league ball team.

So far, so good for the multi-talented Ms. Pack. "I have done everything except fail," she says. Just inside the front door to his home in Columbia hangs a framed declaration of Brian Wilson's humble view of things: "Your opinion is wrong."

No surprise to those who remember the caustic half of the once popular B-104 radio duet of Brian and (Don) O'Brien in the mid '80s. The surprise comes in Mr. Wilson's new broadcasting venture, especially after high profile jobs in New York, Atlanta and Washington -- all of which, in the transient nature of radio work, came to an end prematurely.

"Pack up and move, pack up and move," says the gray haired, 49-year-old of his 30-year radio career. "It was getting really old."

After leaving WRC-AM in Washington recently, he set up his home computer. "Between 30 and 40 million people are doing some sort of work from their home," he says. "So I said to myself, what a great idea for a talk show."

Now, his self-produced, two-hour "Mind Your Own Business" call-in show is carried on a half-dozen stations via the Talk America Radio Network, Saturdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m -- although no Baltimore stations have yet signed on.

"I'm working 18 hours a day, but I love it," he says. "Why? It's all mine. There are lots of people out there working lives of quiet desperation, people who want to tell the boss to . . . shove it."

That's always been his strong suit. As for his other qualifications? "I've got a decent business head," says the man who has earned as much as $450,000 a year as an announcer. "And no, I don't know it all, but that's the nice thing about radio. You get a chance to ask a lot of stupid questions and get a lot of expert answers."

Patrick A. McGuire

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.