A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from June 08, 2011
“You can’t sell from an empty wagon”

The business information company, Dun & Bradstreet, issued a 1949 poster of an old peddler with the slogan, “You Can’t Do Business from an Empty Wagon.” The saying (also popular as “You can’t sell from an empty wagon") means that inventory is necessary to make a sale.


Wikipedia: Dun & Bradstreet
Dun & Bradstreet (NYSE: DNB) is a public company headquartered in Short Hills, New Jersey, USA that provides information on businesses and corporations for use in credit decisions, B2B marketing and supply chain management. Often referred to as D&B, the company maintains information about more than 150 million companies worldwide

Google News Archive
18 September 1949, Pittsburgh (PA) Press, “Retailers Jam Buyers ‘Circus,’” pg. 30, col. 5:
Theme of the fair is an old slogan of pioneer-day peddlers, “You Can’t Do Business from an Empty Wagon.”

2 October 1949, Oregonian (Portland, OR), pg. 9, col. 2:
Rotarians to Hear
Credit Official

Meril A. May, vice president of Dun & Bradstreet, will be in Portland Tuesday and will speak at the luncheon meeting of the Portland Rotary club at the neson hotel at 12:15 p. m. His topic will be “You can’t Do Business From an Empty Wagon.”

23 November 1949, Chester (PA) Times pg. 17, col. 3 classified ad:
You Can’t Do Business From An Empty Wagon!

Google Books
3 April 1954, Billboard, “More Full-Time Firms in Bulk Field,” pg. 70, col. 3:
He also operates under the theory that “you can’t sell goods from an empty wagon” and makes sure he is finally stocked.

Google Books
Hardware Age
Volume 177, Issues 1-6
1956
Pg. 88:
Remember the picture circulated widely some years ago of a pack peddler, and the slogan to the effect that you cannot sell from an empty wagon?

Google Books
Dun’s Review and Modern Industry
Volume 77
1961
Pg. 168:
But you can’t make a profit without a sale, and you can’t make a sale without goods on the shelf. A decade ago Dun & Bradstreet produced a lithograph of The Old Peddler with the slogan, “You Can’t Do Business From An Empty Wagon.”

10 August 1962, Seattle (WA) Daily Times, “Snohomish County To ‘Incubate’ Firms” by Boyd Burchard, pg. 15, col. 7:
Petrie outs it anither way: “You can’t sell from an empty wagon.”

17 January 1965, Seattle (WA) Daily Times, “Dun & Bradstreet in New Headquarters,” pg. 28, col. 2 photo caption:
WARREN H. BERRY WITH OLD DUN & BRADSTREET POSTER
“YOU CAN’T DO BUSINESS FROM AN EMPTY WAGON”

Google Books
Techniques of Successful Fund Raising;
A Handbook

By Adam Gordon and Abbie Gordon
New York, NY: Exposition Press
1967
Pg. 24:
Remember, the more you have to sell, the greater is your potential profit. In the words of the Yankee peddler, “You can’t sell from an empty wagon”; and it is the duty of the merchandise procurement chairman to see that the wagon is full.

Google Books
A Dream to Sell:
An Autobiography

By Plato S. Wilson
Madison, WI: Madison Advertising & Pub. Services
2003
Pg. 109:
They finally discovered that “you cannot sell from an empty wagon.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Wednesday, June 08, 2011 • Permalink