Born Ronald Martin Popeil in New York City, May 3, 1935, Ron is the quintessential rags to riches tale. His parents Samuel J. (a kitchen gadget inventor), and Julia Popeil, divorced, and placed both Ron and his older brother, Jerry, in a boarding school at age three.
The Ronco Story
Set & Forget It! The Story To Greatness
By age 17, Popeil had amassed enough of a savings to move out on his own and setup a stand at the flagship Woolworth store in Chicago. He hawked his gadgets six days a week, twelve hours each day. Popeil’s stand became an attraction with hundreds of people spending their lunch hours every day watching Ron’s pitch. During the state fair seasons, Ron took his show on the road becoming a staple of every major state fair.
Building An Empire
How Ronco Built A Kitchen Accessory Empire
Popeil has been on more television channels for more hours in more markets for more years than virtually all other celebrities in American television history. Popeil’s sales format, pitch style, and catch phrases were almost immediately duplicated by dozens of other pitchmen. Most of the marketing sales on television today, and the “countdown pricing methods” are direct derivatives of Popeil’s works.