In 1980 there was Pioneer Tokyo in Japan, and in the United States there was Pioneer of America and U.S. Pioneer.
Pioneer of America sold the car stereos and compact stereo systems,
U.S. Pioneer sold the individual components.
U.S. Pioneer over-expanded just before the recession and went out of business circa 1983.
It was said of that recession that people stopped buying stereos,
and just bought a new needle for their record player.
Pioneer of America took over and, I guess, simply became the Pioneer of today.
I had left U.S.Pioneer to continue my college, so I missed the last few years.
U.S. Pioneer was the best company I ever worked for, I never hated going to work.
They had a lot of good people, some of whom I didn't appreciate until much later.
I heard that U.S.Pioneer was started by Ken Kai as a 1-man, 1-room office in the Empire State
Building in New York City. Ken Kai later hired Bernie Mitchell as U.S.Pioneer President,
and himself was Vice President until the company went out of business.
My first day of work at U.S.Pioneer was in their Carlstadt, NJ warehouse
at 178 Commerce Street, Carlstadt, NJ 07072.
My 2nd day I worked at the new warehouse at 75 Oxford Drive, Moonachie, NJ 07074.
Later U.S. Pioneer built the corporate headquarters next-door at 85 Oxford Drive, Moonachie, NJ 07074
Working in the U.S. Pioneer warehouse I was introduced to two new foods
that I had never eaten before: pizza and cheesecake. The cheesecake was at a birthday party.
During the Christmas shipping season the warehouse worked overtime the last week
of each month and the warehouse manager bought us pizza for dinner.
When talking to other employees, we referred, affectionately, to the President as "Uncle Bernie".
One day President Mitchell called all the employees together into the main office and said:
"As of today you all have medical benefits".
Just like that, a done deal, no promises in advance, no stringing us along.
When Bernie Mitchell bought a new house in Northern NJ, he invited ALL the employees over,
I don't remember if it was Christmas or a house warming, but office-workers, warehousemen,
repairmen, everyone was invited.
After the demise of U.S.Pioneer, Bernie Mitchell moved out of New Jersey and started another
company, then died of cancer (so I heard).
After that Maxell (as in Maxell tapes) built an office next to the 85 Oxford Drive building,
and I was privileged to work there for a week or two as a temp;
I met two ladies from my East Rutherford High School graduating class there.
My boss at the Temp Agency said I was over-qualified and would be under-paid to do the job at Maxell,
but I loved audio so much I didn't care, I wanted to work for an audio company.
The manager of the computer department at Maxell, for whom I was working as a temp,
took me out to lunch and offered me a job in his department.
I told him I had already accepted an offer from IBM,
and he cut me off in mid-sentence and said that was great, go work for IBM.
What he cut me off from saying was that I would call IBM and turn them down in order to work for Maxell;
28 years later I still regret not finishing my sentence.
Maxell was a small company then like U.S. Pioneer;
IBM was a big company and I had not yet learned the horrors of big companies.
When the Dilbert comic came out I was 100% certain that the author worked for IBM;
he didn't, but he did work for a big company with management horrors like IBM.
Remember these stands from the U.S. Pioneer showroom at 75 Oxford Drive in Moonachie, NJ ?
They had 3 sides of the showroom lined with these and put on them the receivers,
cassette decks, speakers, turntables, etc. that the company currently carried.
I dragged these all around the country, Virginia, California, Washington, New Jersey and South Carolina;
as of June 2021 I still have them.
I cut the hole in the one facing the camera, I was going to put a speaker in it, never had the time.