In memory of Nik Satenstein

It is with sorrow that I must announce that former Professional Distributor columnist, and Matco Tools dealer, Nikol “Nik” Satenstein, passed away on March 17. We became friends through the writing of his “Mobile Motivations” column for the magazine, and we talked often by email, phone and at the Matco Tools expos. I’m a bit in shock with the news of his passing, as we just had a good conversation a few weeks ago at the Matco expo and nothing seemed amiss. Nik’s passing is yet another reminder of how temporary our lives really are — especially if you don’t leave anything worth remembering. Fortunately, Nik did.
— Brendan Dooley

Nik is, and will be, greatly missed by anyone who had the pleasure of meeting him. For me personally, he was like a brother, a great friend and a mentor. He has a wonderful family, and he was very proud of his boys Sheldon and Nigel. Nik touched so many lives and it was evident by the turnout at the funeral. Wow! Very sad. We spoke just about every Friday around 6 p.m. If he called me, he would always say “Hey Thurstein, how was your week?” And we would exchange stories. Nik didn’t sell jerky on the truck, so I would always ask “How’s jerky sales?” And he would reply, “No carnage.” Nik was a vegetarian. We had a lot of laughs and good times together with our families. Hope to see you on the other side Nik, if there is another side. Rest in peace “Mr. Hemi.”
— Chip Thurston
Matco Tools distributor
Blue Bell, Pa.

Nikol ‘Nik’ Satenstein

Nikol Satenstein of West Chester died Wednesday, March 17, 2010. He was born on Oct. 10, 1955, in Great Neck, N.Y.

He was an avid car enthusiast for all of his life, and as an adult he was honored to be president of the Northeast Hemi Owners Association. Keeping with his interest in automobiles, Nik started his own tool distribution business in 1981 and was a professional distributor representing Matco Tools.

Helping others was always on his mind. He was a devoted and involved member of Kesher Israel Congregation in West Chester, and was beloved and admired by the community.

Nik was an assistant scoutmaster and adult leader in Boy Scout Troop 55 of Grove, Pa. He was always passionate about the Boy Scouts of America and scouting with his sons.

He enjoyed writing in his free time and was very proud to write as a regular columnist for Professional Distributor magazine during the past few years, offering advice on business ownership.

Nik was also a coach in West Side Little League for several seasons and was an enthusiastic participant in a local adult softball league.

Nik was a terrific person whose goal was to make the world a better place for those around him. He will always be remembered for loving his family, valuing the relationships he had with his customers and his friends, and contributing to the community in order to improve the lives of others.

He is survived by his wife, Jamie (Blanchard) Satenstein; sons, Sheldon and Nigel; sister, Anna; brother, Harry; and a nephew, Alex.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Chester County Council of the Boy Scouts of America, 504 S. Concord Road, West Chester, PA 19382; or to Kesher Israel Congregation, 1000 Pottstown Pike, West Chester, PA 19380.

Courtesy of The Daily Local
of Chester County, Pa., © 2010


When I heard Nik Satenstein had died, I started reading through some of his old columns for Professional Distributor. When I came across this one from the August 2007 issue, I knew I needed to re-run it. Please enjoy in memory of Nik, and consider carefully his advice for you. — Ed.

While eating lunch the other day in my truck, I engaged in my usual reading of the newspaper. An old dude like me looks at the obituaries and sees folks who have passed on that I might have known. It’s also fascinating reading stranger’s life stories.

Here is one that struck me right down to the core of my soul:

It was for a pediatrician who died at 59. It went on to tell about the 10,000 babies he had delivered over his career and how devoted he was to his patients. He had published important papers and was looked up to in the community. They interviewed his son whose quote made me choke! When asked about his dad, the only thing he said was, “He was a great doctor.”

Wow, did that ever send a message. It was obvious to me that his son was hurt and thought his dad cared more about his profession than his family.

We are also engaged in a profession that can be very consuming. There are many times where it is easier and seemingly more important to press on with work than take time for other pursuits and family.

Twenty-five years ago, a customer shared with me advice his dad had given him. He said that no one ever lay on their deathbed and wished, “If I had only gone to work one more day.” Those words resonated with me that day, and still do.

I read different profiles in this magazine about people who are successful, and many indicate they take little or no time off. I strongly disagree with a lifestyle that has minimal vacation time.

The goals I set for myself are simple: Leave as late as I can; get home as early as I can; do as little work as possible to ensure the level of success I desire; take as much time off as possible.

A subset would be relating to involvement in family and other important activities. Get involved with what really interests you. I managed my son, Nigel’s, little league team this year and found it to be immensely rewarding. There were some days I had to skip a stop or abbreviate my visits to get to the field on time. I let the customers know I wasn’t abandoning them and they understood. There was not a tremendous sacrifice of income, and what I received in return you can’t put a price on.

I hear about distributors in this business that hit second and third shifts and miss important meals and events with their family and children. They are gone when the kids get up most days and get home late several nights a week. This has to be very stressful on everyone concerned and can exact a terrible price. That is not to say that those business opportunities can be ignored. What I am indicating is to evaluate what you are getting and what you have to give up to service those customers. They can be a crucial part of your success. I do suggest that you look over the timing of your stops and try to formulate a better solution for everyone. Is collecting an extra $xx really worth the extra time invested?

There has to be a better way and we all get so conditioned to our routines. We think, “How could I possibly set them up on every other week? I can’t drop this stop — I have been coming here for years.” That last one is real tough and I have no silver bullet answer. I’m sure some of you have discovered the “tools” to deal with these situations. Maybe a distributor you know has made some changes to his route and it seems to be working. Why not ask for some help?

When talking to others in this business I am always listening for better time management techniques. I am delighted to talk to someone who is working four or four-and-a-half days a week. It can be done. Someday I hope to have the guts and smarts to try it. Isn’t this what it all boils down to? Less work = More fun!

When I am “room temperature” and people come to pay their final respects to me, I only hope they talk about the man I was in regards to my family and community. Yes, somewhere on those beautiful collages of pictures of me skiing, swimming, scouting, hiking, traveling, volunteering, and being a dad and husband, there will be one picture of a tool truck. Let your life be defined by what you have done — not by what you do. Give your loved ones the greatest gift you have to offer — yourself.