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Who is Bob Farrell?

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Who is Bob Farrell?

Bob Farrell as a young man

Born in beautiful Brooklyn, New York, in 1927, a bouncing baby boy named Bobby Farrell was introduced to the world. His grandfather, Patrick Farrell, owned a successful auto parts company and life was good in "the old neighborhood." When the stock market crashed in 1929, it took its toll on the business and the family. Bob Farrell's father took his own life when Bob was only four years old. His mother couldn't cope and placed him and his sister in an orphanage. It was a safe place run by loving people. "I remember crying when I arrived and crying when I left," Bob would later recall, "I'm sure I gave those poor people a harder time than they gave me." His mother remarried five years later and got her children back.

Bob receiving the Horatio Alger Award from Norman Vincent Peale

Bob left high school to join the Air Force in 1945. After the war ended, Bob Farrell was sent to serve at radar stations throughout the Pacific Northwest. On leave, at a local dance ballroom, he met his lifelong love, Ramona. They married that same year and Mr. Farrell went back to school to finish his business degree. He landed a job in the back room at Heinz Foods, but hated it because they wouldn't let him "go out and sell." A year later, he approached their competitor, Libby Foods, and started his career as a sales guy, serving "Mom and Pop" grocery stores. In no time, he began breaking sales records with his creative marketing and received a series of job promotions to become regional sales manager. Bob had three daughters by now and life was good, yet he dreamt of running his own business. He remembered the fun and excitement of the local ice cream parlors he used to go to as a kid in Brooklyn.

Bob Farrell on the Merv Griffin show

Bob Farrell approached his friend, Ken McCarthy, to quit his job at Carnation and join him in a new venture, Farrell's Ice Cream Parlors. They opened their first store in Portland, Oregon, on Friday the 13th, 1963. There were lines from opening to closing. "We ran out of ice cream and bananas. We cleaned out the neighborhood grocery stores of hamburger and buns." With sirens wailing and drums beating, Farrell's quickly became the place to be for excitement and fun, not to mention a free sundae on your birthday. Five years later with only six stores opened, Farrell decided to begin franchising his concept. He appeared on TV on the Merv Griffin show. Bob Farrell received the Horatio Alger Award from Norman Vincent Peale. He built the World's Largest Sundae for the Guinness Book of Records.

Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour and Restaurant Logo

In 1973, Bob Farrell sold his fifty-five store chain of ice cream parlors to the Marriot Corporation. He remained as its spokesperson and they added nearly a hundred more stores. It was during this time that he developed a speech for new employees called, "Give 'em the Pickle!", based on a letter he received from a disappointed customer. This speech began the third chapter of his career as a highly sought-after motivational speaker and author.

Bob Farrell as motivational speaker


For the past 30 years, Bob Farrell has been involved with the launch of several very successful restaurant chains. He has delivered his brand of "pickle service" to thousands of eager listeners across the country with his motivational speeches. In 2002, he put his speech to video with the runaway hit "Give 'em the PICKLE!" This past year, he did it again with "The Leadership Pickles!"…this guy never slows down! Today, he resides in the Pacific Northwest and is passionate about Young Life, spending time with his children and 8 grandchildren…and of course his sweetheart, Mona.

"I spent most of my life as 'the ice cream guy', I end up as 'the pickle guy'. Ice cream and pickles, go figure."

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