A Jewish-American family saga about the rise of its fashion retailing empire and how it splits and ultimately devastates the family.
Shelf Life is a Jewish–American family saga about the rise of its fashion retailing empire and how it splits and ultimately devastates the family.
As the son of Max Feldman, the self-proclaimed “sodbuster from Omaha” and brilliant founder of the successful fashion shoe store chain Fratelli Massimo, Josh Feldman has always known his destiny . . . working alongside his father and one day succeeding him, a career path promised to him by Max. Starting with one store in the 1950s financed by his mother’s trust fund, his father has taken advantage of the heyday of shopping malls to grow the St. Louis–based business to hundreds of locations across the United States. At industry events, he’s not just some Midwestern family business boss but a rock star courted by suppliers, shopping center developers, and the media.
Josh is eager to step into his father’s role. Unlike his charismatic brother and his sophisticated New York-born and -bred mother, who inherited her powerful father’s cunning but is more interested in literature and raising her sons, Josh is passionate about the family business. He is his father’s son and presumed successor. But as he comes of age, starts a family of his own, and works his way up in the business, Josh slowly begins to understand his father’s penchant for treachery. With Max’s ruthless ambition and his drive to be celebrated for his success, will Josh ever be allowed to succeed him?
When the family is divided over the future of the business, Josh must face the fact that his father's pledge to him may have exceeded its shelf life.
A fashion retailing legend, Martin Sneider has been a leader in the shoe and clothing industries for more than five decades and has served as a multi-award-winning adjunct professor of retailing at the Olin School of Business at Washington University since 1992. At the Olin School of Business, Martin created and taught a course devoted to luxury goods merchandising and marketing that included trips with students to Milan, Paris, and London to visit the showrooms of Armani, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Burberry, and Cartier.
A fourth-generation retailer, Martin started as a shoe salesman and rose to president, co-CEO, and chief merchant of one of the nation’s largest fashion shoe and apparel specialty chains. He served on the Alumni Board of Directors of Harvard Business School, was chairman of St. Louis Children’s Hospital, and received the Distinguished Alumni award from Washington University. He is the author of a highly acclaimed nonfiction book on the shoe industry. Shelf Life is his first novel and the first of a projected series of four novels about fashion and family. Martin has two children and four granddaughters and lives in St. Louis, Missouri, and New York City.