Former Syracuse New Times owner publishes memoir

HAMILTON – Art Zimmer, former owner of the Syracuse New Times, the Zimmer Car Company and numerous Central New York enterprises, has written a memoir that recounts his rise from a farm outside Hamilton, New York to become a business and community leader in the Syracuse area for most of his 76 years.

“Making it Count: A to Z, the Life and Times of Art Zimmer” tells the story of his life on the farm in Randallsville, NY, where he earned the distinction of finishing last in his high school class at Hamilton High School before heading out into the world where he started successful business after successful business–all based on hard work and a keen eye for consumer-based marketing. Often the one to take the path less traveled, he writes about riding a Vespa scooter all the way to his U.S. Army placements in Arkansas and Texas; of helping to run the Onondaga Ski Club and rescue Syracuse's foundering alternative newspaper, The New Times, which he owned from 1984 through 2010.

The author writes frankly about the movers and shakers he worked with over the years, from late former Syracuse Mayor Lee Alexander to county and state politicians, business leaders, and others.

His other ventures including magazines like Family Times, the Parenting Guide of Central New York; a local maple syrup and candy company that helped him pay for college; a real estate, where he bought, rented, and sold many properties over several decades. He bought Zimmer Car Company because he liked the name and loved the high-end class Duesenberg-style cars it produced. He envisioned and founded the SALT (Syracuse Area Live Theater) Awards and helped Frank Malfitano realize his dream of establishing the SAMMYS (Syracuse Area Music Awards). Zimmer also was a charter board member of Syracuse International Film Festival.

When he felt that too little time was being spent by the theater industry to recognize the greatest musical era in American history, Zimmer took it upon himself to write a musical revue, “Cruizin' Thru The '50's,” and staged it successfully at the Fairgrounds in Syracuse for almost a decade.

All along the way, Zimmer has been a collector of talent, leading people of diverse backgrounds to embrace a common purpose and work toward a common goal. “I like to say that I don’t take 'NO' for an answer,” he writes in the book. “A final answer, anyway.” The man who has worked with many, but has never been outworked, won the Crystal Ball Award given by the Central New York chapter of Sales & Marketing Executives in 2005. Two years earlier, he was named New York State Entrepreneur of the Year in a competition sponsored by USA Today and Ernst & Young.

The book was co-authored by Art's wife and frequent business partner, Shirley Sherburne Zimmer; and by CNY writer and editor Lois Gridley, with illustrations by Dennis Calkins. It includes reminiscences and back-cover endorsements from a host of CNY celebrities and political leaders who worked with Zimmer. It is available at area bookstores after Sept. 15 and can be pre-ordered online at the publisher's website starting Sept. 1, at:

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