Back in 2008 Niagara Falls businessman George Satarian introduced Frank "Chick' D'Agostino to me. I was the managing member of One Niagara.
Satarian said D'Agostino wanted to try to start a company giving tourist bus tours of Niagara Falls and its attractions.
I threw open the doors to the startup company, named Cataract Tours, with no fixed rent at first and gave them support with sales and promotions.
D'Agostino started with six ramshackle, 12-seater busses and built the company by working 18 hour days, seven days per week, with a cunning mixture of hard work and friendly service.
in his quest to build the company, D'Agostino partnered up with promoter Tom "Big Daddy" Kerr and within two years, through hard work, and smarts, and by putting their hearts into it, the company became the biggest bus tour operator in Niagara Falls surpassing Gray Line and other long established tour companies.
Cataract expanded their fleet to dozens of elegant, 24- 56 seat busses and hired drivers, sales people, tour guides and support staff to accommodate their growing business.
From out of nowhere they became a million dollar success story.
"We did 32,000 people in 2009. We had people waiting in line, waiting for one of the busses to come back so they could take the next tour,' D'Agostino said.
In a 2012 speech, President Barack Hussein Obama said business owners, despite their individual hard work or effort, really owed their success to government, saying "If you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own. If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."
Despite the myopic socialist viewpoint of Obama -- who went on to add, "I'm always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there" -- Obama's anti- individualism message had little impact on the owners of Cataract Tours.
Chick D'Agostino and Big Daddy Kerr went right along working, harder and smarter - as if they - not government- were the captains of their fate.
They became genuine success stories.
And they did it without government subsidy.
They never went to city hall, or Empire Development, like beggars and said., "we cant make it without taxpayers' money."
No these are men of the old tradition.
They make the corporate welfare takers look like sissies.
They proved that you can start a business in Niagara Falls - the most business unfriendly city in the most business unfriendly state - capture a generous slice of the tourism pie - without a government handout.
Without government help.
In spite of top heavy government.
Without taking taxes from the hard working people who pay taxes in this country.
There is a lesson in this.
This is the reason Obama is wrong.
To make people feel dependent on government - to make people think they owe it to government for their success is the socialist agenda.
It is the message of income redistribution. It is the recipe of poverty and shrinking pride. You didn't earn your success, everyone else together got it for you. With government overseeing everything.
It defies the practical experience of history.
Hard work, intelligence and heart bring success, everyone knows that is true..
This year Big Daddy is enlarging the business, expanding tours to New York City, Washington DC, Boston and elsewhere and bringing tourists to these cites to Niagara Falls and back, thus increasing tax revenues for government, including local.
And as he brings tourist here they will spend money - so government will pick up more bed and sales taxes.
No Barack Hussein, it is not government that built the successful American business; it is the successful American business that built America.
You got it backwards, son when you said that guys like Big Daddy didn't do it on their own, when you said, "Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges.".
Government didn't allow Cataract to thrive.
Cataract allowed you, Barack to thrive.
The American businessman, the entrepreneur, he had the initiative, the effort that led to the capital to fund the roads and bridges, the infrastructure that built America not vice versa.
Government didn't build it. Americans through their hard work built America.
Between state, federal, income, employment and DOT taxes, Cataract has paid a lot of taxes, which in turn helped pay government salaries.
And helped to build more roads and bridges.
Obama's message should be reversed. Every politician should say to themselves "If I am a success, I did not do that. Somebody else did that for me."
Obama did not make it on his own.
The hard working smart people. They got you there.
They pay Obama's salary. So he can sit there and pontificate how America is second rate and the men who built it to greatness didn't really do it.
Obama owes them. Guys like Chick D'Agostino and Big Daddy Kerr.
Not vice versa.
|After being introduced to One Niagara by George Satarian, Cataract Tours became the number one bus tour company.