Marc Polish is a self-proclaimed “idea machine.” An entrepreneur by every definition of the word, he has built numerous businesses over his life, from hot dog stands to humorous T-shirt companies to a designer toilet paper business.
So when Newark Mayor Cory Booker proclaimed that the city, facing a $180 million budget gap, would have to make some cutbacks in areas like toilet paper and Christmas decorations, Polish’s creative gears started grinding again.
Last week he announced he would donate rolls of “Santa Toilet Paper” to city employees. Polish will donate one roll of his company’s designer Christmas toilet paper for every four rolls of holiday-themed bath tissue bought on justtoiletpaper.com, the company’s website.
“The idea to combine toilet paper and Christmas is really kind of simple if you don’t have tunnel vision,” Polish explained in a phone interview with NJ Jewish News — or, as he told The Star Ledger: “I love Christmas, even though I’m Jewish. As soon as I read what was happening in Newark I knew I wanted to help out.”
The 70-year-old Ventnor resident has melded his religious upbringing with his business. His other website, ChaiMaintenance.com, features a variety of “punny” Jewish-themed items, from hats to mugs to onesies.
One T-shirt he designed featured a Hebrew word for ‘nothing.’ Whenever someone asked him what his shirt said, he would invariably reply, “Nothing.” This would start, as he called it, his own Abbott and Costello routine.
Asked why he got into the toilet paper business, he replies, “Hey, it’d be fun to do. I love finding people products they don’t have, but want or need, and make them.”
But when it comes to Jewish bath tissue, Polish doesn’t bite.
“Selling Jewish toilet paper is a tough market because it’s a limited market,” he explains. “I would not feel very comfortable selling toilet paper with the [Israeli] flag. It’s a very touchy subject.”
Polish is adamant that any custom-made toilet paper request “not preach any hatred or disrespect. No Koran. No flag of Israel.”
The Newark donation isn’t the first example of his soft touch. In 2005 he donated rolls of designer bath tissue to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
He says he wants “the finest hygiene” for the whole world. And it starts with a product that lends itself to as many bad puns as good deeds.
“I want to save the world through toilet paper,” Polish proclaims. “With my help, I hope that all the problems in the world can be ‘wiped out.’”