It didn't take long for well-known Lexington business executive Alan Stein to realize retirement wasn't for him.
The affable former leader of the Lexington Legends baseball team has started a business development and management consulting company, SteinGroup.
"I knew I wasn't going to be able to just sit in a rocking chair," Stein said. "That was for sure.
"There's no way my wife was going to let me stay around the house anyway," he added, referring to state Sen. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington.
So after retiring from day-to-day operations of the Legends in October, he said, he "took a deep breath for a few weeks and started thinking about the direction of where I could go, where I could re-engage myself and yet have it be diverse enough to be fun and be a value back to the community."
The answer, he found, was consulting and helping others find solutions to their problems.
"What we say is that every business generally speaking ... is going to have a couple of challenges somewhere along the way, either a problem they need to overcome or a dream or goal in mind, and they're not there yet and not sure how to get there," he said. "There's virtually no business when asked those two questions would say they're good on both fronts."
Stein had been brainstorming the idea for years with Sandy Canon, who was an executive at Community Ventures Corp. and now serves as chief administrative officer of SteinGroup.
"The really nice thing is I didn't really have to leave CVC," Canon said, explaining that the entrepreneur organization is working with SteinGroup. "I'm still overseeing their marketing, and we're in the middle of five special events.
"It was bittersweet to leave as a staff person, but I'm still incredibly connected."
The pair have opened offices in a home on West Short Street near Stella's Kentucky Deli and hired two other employees, with a fifth expected soon.
Stein and Canon also are casting a broad net for clients.
"We can talk to anybody," Stein said. "The variety of folks who have knocked on our door has been amazing."
Canon added, "We also are utilizing Alan's wide breadth of connections in sports and sports marketing."
Among the customers is Terry Murphy, CEO of Qunomic. The company, which hired SteinGroup for assistance with marketing, strategy and raising capital, creates products for industrial signage and mapping. While factories often have used tape and other materials to create lanes for forklifts and other machinery, Qunomic uses lights to do that so space can be reconfigured easily, Murphy said.
"The thing I found about Alan, Sandy and everybody else is there's a real down-home approach to things," Murphy said. "It's not, 'I know what's best, I'm the consultant and here's what we're going to do.'
"It's been a hugely collaborative effort, and they've just been supportive and they've been there. They're taking the reins and running with it. That's a perfect match."