|The Independent Traveler's Newsletter PAGE FIVE|
Glenn Cooper's Twelve "Babies" - Paris Rental Apartments
by Arthur Gillette
year old Long Islander, Glenn Cooper, has a ready smile and a
A.G. What brought you here in the first place?
G.C. Between my sophomore and junior years at Wharton Business School in Philadelphia, I did an internship with a construction and engineering firm headquartered near Paris, and I lived in a hotel by the Jardin du Luxembourg. I met a whole lot of interesting people ~ it was a good summer and made me want to come back.
A.G. Which you did during the second semester of your junior year...
G.C. You bet! Majoring in finance with a minor in French, I studied 'the psychology of marketing' here and learned a lot.
A.G. And that stint confirmed your Paris infatuation ~ or 'infection'?
G.C. Yes, indeed ~ and as soon as I graduated from Wharton in 1991 I came back. I worked at an international bank for a year, and then became a junior professional at the OECD.
A.G. That's the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, an inter-governmental body headquartered in Paris. What was your job?
G.C. I worked as a statistical analyst there for seven years. Interesting enough, but I found the structure a bit too old fashioned and the work done in ways which didn't correspond to my way of handling things. I am a fairly dynamic, hard-working person and the work methods of the typical OECD employee didn't take into account possibilities to correctly use IT systems. Change was looked down upon, and my desire to implement new ideas and systems wasn't always appreciated. Toward the end of those years, I was getting a bit fed up and felt something of a square peg in a round hole.
A.G. What then?
G.C. Well, I really wanted to stay in Paris and was wondering how to earn a living here. I genuinely like helping people and felt that working in a customer service area would suit me well. I started buying some Paris apartments ~ and thoroughly enjoyed, and learned about, the procedures I had to go through to do so. Then I helped some American (and French) friends who were looking to buy, and found that intriguing, too. Soon afterwards, I started renting out my apartments, and it became a successful venture quickly. A bit later I bought a third one to rent and decided to resign from OECD and go into the rental business on my own.
Small is Beautiful
A.G. Wasn't that quite a personal challenge?
G.C. Of course., but certainly not a 'paper and pencil' effort. I think I was among the first to offer online rentals for Paris in English. And, well, wow! It worked! I focused on providing almost-hotel-level personal services in interesting neighborhoods but at reasonable prices. I'm now up to twelve rental apartments (www.rentals-paris.com), and also provide service to people who want to buy in Paris (www.paris-aparts.com). And, after working in a rather large bureaucracy, it's been a pleasure to be a one-person operation.
A.G. 'Small is beautiful'?
G.C. Oh, yes! And, frankly, over there years it's been a stress on quality with mostly 'hits' with no 'misses' ~ well, almost no 'misses'.
A.G. For instance?
G.C. I'd furnished one of the apartments with a wrought-iron stand including a porcelain basin and pitcher bought at an antique fair. A lady rented the place and knocked over the stand, smashing both basin and pitcher. Sloppiness and carelessness are behaviors I really don't care for!
A.G. Your most fun?
G.C. I guess it's been physically renovating the apartments I've bought before offering them for rent. I'll never forget the first one: I watched the workman figuring out how to refurbish it, then accompanied him when buying materials to do so and even helped him to do the job. It was probably the first time in my life I'd seen a project through from A to Z. Perhaps I'm over-serious, but I continue to care for my rental apartments down to basic details and services. After all, in a way they're my 'babies'!
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