鈥楾hank you very much,鈥?she said. 鈥業 will try to persuade Charles to take your advice too, and come away for a few days. And now I鈥檒l go down to your house. Oh, your receipt. Shall I write it and file it?鈥? "Sam is very sharp on being able to read people and their personalities, and their integrity, and he didn'tmake any mistakes back there picking people, if I do say so myself. Really, back early, one bad managercould have pulled us under. When you're only making $8,000 or maybe $12,000 a year net in a store, itwould have only taken one or two managers who were dishonest to lose the whole company. Sam wouldmeet them in the stores where they worked, and invite them down to look at his stores. You know, he's avery persuasive man; he could charm a bird out of a tree. And he and Helen would have you out to thehouse and serve ice cream, and they'd always ask if you and your family went to church. He was sogood at evaluating and selecting these fellows. He wasn't just looking for store managers. I think he wasselecting people he thought he could go forward with. He was progressive. He knew that he neededsomething, and he was looking for it, and he was getting it every step of the way."We found Claude over in Memphis running a Woolworth store. He was from Muskogee, Oklahoma,and about one-quarter Indian, and he had started with Woolworth out of high school. None of thesefellows like Don or Claude had any college, and they didn't want me hiring any college men. They had theidea that college graduates wouldn't get down and scrub floors and wash windows. The classic training inthose days was to put a two-wheeleryou know, a cart that you carry merchandise oninto a guy's handswithin the first thirty minutes he came to work and get him pushing freight out of the back room. They allcame out of these variety stores with the same background and the same kind of philosophy andeducation. And we looked for the action-oriented, do-it-now, go type of folks. So for the first time since I had begun retailing in 1945, I was beginning to back off from the business. Iwas getting slightly less involved in the day-to-day decisions and leaning a bit more on Ron Mayer andFerold Arendour two executive vice presidents. I was still chairman and CEO. Ferold, at age forty-five,ran merchandising, while Ron Mayer, who was only forty, ran finance and distribution. To handle theexplosive growth, we were bringing on new people in the general office. Ron brought in a lot of people tohandle data processing and finance and distribution. 午夜福利1000集92看看 But I had another problem on my mind when I went up there: distribution. All these other guys, like AbeMarks, were in large urban markets, and their stores were being supplied by big distributors. Kmart andWoolco were using the same distribution system that was supplying their thousands of variety stores. Sohere we were out in the sticks with nobody to distribute to our stores, which meant basically that ourmanagers would order from salesmen and then some day or other a truck from somewhere would comealong and drop off the merchandise. Even at the stage we were in, this was totally unworkable. A lot ofour stores weren't big enough to order whole pallets of merchandise, so we had rented that old garage indowntown Bentonville as our warehouse. We would have big shipments delivered there, then unpackthem and repack them into smaller quantities. Then we'd call the trucklines to come get them and takethem to the stores. It was expensive and inefficient. Somewhere in that period, Ferold and I had hiredanother fellow from Newberry's, Bob Thornton, who had been running a distribution center for them inOmaha, with the promise that we were going to build a distribution center for him to run. I have seen the lovers on their way to Florence, he said, "and have come to ask how Mrs. Disney is after her fatiguing morning." We had joined the Presbyterian church there, and even though I was a Methodist, it worked out realwell. Just as Helen and I were raised in the church, we felt that our kids would benefit from a churchupbringing. Church is an important part of society, especially in small towns. Whether it's the contactsand associations you make or the contributions you might make toward helping other folks, it all sort ofties in together. Helen was very active in her churchwork, which she still is today, and in PEO, aninternational women's organization. Our four children had come along by now, and Helen really lovedNewport. I was a member of the church's board of deacons, was active in the Rotary Club, and hadbecome president of the Chamber of Commerce as well as head of its industrial committee. I was prettymuch involved in everything around town. As business leaders, we absolutely cannot afford to get all caught up in trying to meet the goals thatsome retail analyst or financial institution in New York sets for us on a ten-year plan spit out of acomputer that somebody set to compound at such-and-such a rate. If we do that, we take our eye offthe ball. But if we demonstrate in our sales and our earnings every day, every week, every quarter, thatwe're doing our job in a sound way, we will get the growth we are entitled to, and the market will respectus in a way that we deserve. Our associates and our customersmany of whom are now stockholderstoowill all be better served if we perform consistently over the next ten years, whether it is at a 15percent rate or a 20 percent rate or a 25 percent rate.