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In the movie 'Beethoven', George Newton was an air freshener entrepreneur. In fact, in 'Beethoven's 2nd', he and his wife obtained a collateral loan to further their business with their house acting as collateral.

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Do we know the house wasn't inherited? I think this question is going to lead to a lot of speculation if someone doesn't know right out what the answer is. I hope it is actually answered though. –  Paulster2 May 16 at 22:50

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Going to take a shot in the dark here at the risk of downvotes because even though I don't recall the movie all that well, it's such an odd yet interesting question with thought behind it.

According to a citation on Wikipedia

Global retail sales of air care products were valued at more than $6 billion in 2006 and are forecast to reach $7.3 billion by 2010.

source

I tried to find additional market data but you have to pay for those reports and I'm not willing to do that to answer your question.

So, in short, yeah, it's certainly possible but I think the question should be is it probable? The money is there, so why not?

I don't recall his situation but here are some scenarios:

Startups back then were not like they are today where investors are chomping at the bit for anything that looks like a startup. Back then your best bet was to build some prototypes as quickly and cheaply as possible and sell them to a company like P&G (or appropriate big industry manufacturer). This process could have gone the route of acquiring a patent and licensing it to a manufacturer as well.

There is the possibility that he bought products wholesale and sold them retail acting as the middleman doing some kind of drop-shipping setup. Plenty of successful people have built their wealth using this method. Look at Avon, Gold Canyon/Yankee candles, Amway and plenty of other MLM gigs.

So yeah, it could be. In 1993, the house you mention being $2m would only be $1.25m but the air freshener industry could have been at $4.3b. Note: I'm getting my numbers from an inflation calculator so they are only estimates and not actual market data.

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