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.
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 next 40 plus years, Bob Farrell was involved with the launch of several very successful restaurant chains, including the re-launch of FARRELL’S ICE CREAM PARLOUR RESTAURANTS in 2009. He delivered his brand of "pickle service" to tens of thousands of eager employees across the country with his motivation speeches. In 2002 he put his speech to video with the runaway hit "Give 'em the PICKLE!" He followed that with a motivational video for managers called, "The Leadership Pickles!", and then went in search of inspirational "pickle-givers" around the country with, "What's Your Pickle?!"
His golden years were spent at the beach in the Pacific Northwest with his 3 daughters, 8 grand kids , 7 great grand kids, and of course his life long sweetheart, Mona.
Bob passed away in August of 2015. He was a good friend and an inspiration in countless ways. We will miss him forever.