Retirement calling Ferrara

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Suffolk is about to lose one of the most innovative entrepreneurs in the city. Fred Ferrara, the man who brought the coveted little book, the &uot;Suffolk Telephone Book,&uot; is retiring. However, he leaves behind a legacy that will continue.

&uot;Everyone in Suffolk should be seeing their 2003 book any day now,&uot; said Ferrara, owner of Command Affiliates Inc., the company that produces the book currently in use in this city. &uot;The new company, White Directory Publishers Inc., has purchased Command Affiliates and assumed control of operations. They will be publishing their &uot;Talking Phone Book,&uot; which will be just about an inch taller than ours.&uot;

The Talking Phone Book is similar to Ferrara’s directory, which came to Suffolk 16-years ago. When Ferrara brought the idea to Suffolk of creating a phone book especially for the city, he met with Suffolk’s Chamber of Commerce before taking any action.

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&uot;I met with them in 1988, and told them what I had to offer,&uot; said the publisher. &uot;I had published books in Florida and New York and they were a great success and I was able to provide Suffolk with a book of the same quality. People here eagerly accepted the book, preferring it to the huge directory they used before we published the Suffolk Phone Book. We even gave them scenes of Suffolk on the covers of all 16 books.&uot;

In fact, Ferrara’s handy little directory was so much in demand that people collect them, hang on to them as if they are valuable. That’s because the book is only a little larger than a standard novel and only about an inch thick. Consider that compared with the Hampton Roads Directory and local people seem to choose the smaller book.

&uot;The book was extremely well received and I appreciate the people of Suffolk for their support,&uot; said Ferrara. &uot;When I announced at the Rotary Club that I was retiring, they wanted to know what would happen with the phone book. They didn’t want to lose it and I’m happy that the new book will be similar to it.&uot;

Ferrara is retiring after a lifetime of activity. Retired from the Navy, he went into the publishing business and has counted many successes. He is a pilot and an avid aerial photographer and plans to once again take up the hobby that he so often incorporated into his business. He used several of his own photographs as covers to the Suffolk Phone Book as well as others he’s published.

Also, as he retires, Ferrara plans to dedicate more time to his family, which is scattered from Chesapeake to Wales in the United Kingdom and Italy.

&uot;From my Navy days, I have friends all over the world and I just have not had the time to visit with them,&uot; said Ferrara. &uot;It’s also been so many years since I have had a real holiday with my family. I have four daughters and nine grandchildren all over the place. My wife and I have some great plans.&uot;

White Directory Publishers, the new owners of the Suffolk phone book, has also purchased Maine Yellow Pages Inc., and assumed control of operations there as well as in Suffolk. The company began publishing directories in Portsmouth/Dover/Rochester and Newberryport/Haverhill, and has also begun working on prototypes for Nashua, Manchester and Concord, New Hampshire.

White will operate from Ferrara’s Market Street offices, and he will work with the company for five months as a consultant during the transition. During that time, Ferrara will operate under the name, &uot;Suffolk Marketing, Ltd.&uot;