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As we celebrate the accomplishment of servicing our customers for Forty Years, we also pause to recognize the passing of our company's founder, Richard Friend, whose ambition and vision enabled us to reach this significant milestone.
Richard Friend grew up in Clifton, NJ and started his music education in elementary school playing the drums. He had a wonderful aptitude and love for music. While attending Clifton High School, he lead the Clifton High School Marching Band Percussion Section and was appropriately voted "Most Likely to Succeed" in his graduating class. This recognition by his peers could not have been more accurate.
Richard then attended New York University and graduated with a degree in Music Education. During this time he was honored to work as a high school band director in New Jersey for ten years. With a strong admiration for the students that participated in music and choir, the program grew considerably under his tenure as students to this day remember their admiration of him as well.
It was during this time that Richard created an instructional film strip and audio cassette tape entitled "Color Guard Etiquette." It was a simple product intended to assist band directors in teaching their music groupsthe basics of Marching Band and Color Guard drills. The product became a staple teaching tool for hundreds of band directors across the country. Richard and his wife Dolores started a mail-order business under the name "Intermedia Inc." in the basement of their modest home in Northern New Jersey. The company was an instant success as band directors inquired about additional products from marching boots to color guard flags and poles. Seeing the huge demand in this niche business, he gradually made the transition from music director to entrepreneur and business owner.
He completed his M.B.A. and took classes at the Fashion Institute ofTechnology to learn the garment industry. However, Richard's greatest asset was his own intuition and foresight. He surrounded himself with employees and family members that shared his same commitment to the company and respect for the customers, and was fortunate enough to work with many of them for the majority of their own careers.
As the business grew rapidly through the 1980's, Richard saw an opportunity to expand the market to serve the choral and orchestra groups with a fashionable and high quality line of apparel and started a second catalog and business entity called Stage Accents. Customers appreciated the strong concern for customer satisfaction and for receiving a quality product that exceeded their expectations.
Now servicing the majority of choral and instrumental groups in schools and communities throughout the U.S., we are proud to reflect and honor both our founder and our customers for the success that this union has become.