SOUTHPOINT : Give Me an A! 北京赛车平台软件 SOUTHPOINT : I think in the case of variety stores, they have to completely reposition themselves, something like theway Don Soderquist did when he was president of Ben Franklin. He saw that there just wasn't any futurein competing with Wal-Mart and Kmart so he started converting a lot of their variety stores into craftstores. They offered a much bigger assortment of craft merchandise than any Wal-Mart could, and theyheld classes in things like pottery and flower arranging, services we could never think about providing. Itworked. They stayed in business in the small towns and have been quite successful with many of thosestores. The same thing can be done with fabrics: offer higher quality material and throw in some sewingclasses. Or ladies' apparel. I don't care how many Wal-Marts come to town, there are always niches thatwe can't reachnot that we won't try. Just like everybody else, in order to survive, we need to keepchanging the things we do. Now in the case of hardware stores, I don't deny that we've been hard onsome of them too, but if they're in a decent location they shouldn't have that much trouble with Wal-Mart. "Once I was setting up to photograph Sam out on the tarmac of some little airport inMissouri. He wasover filing a flight plan, and I threw a nickel down on the pavementtrying to be cuteand said to myassistant: 'Lets see if he picks it up.' Planes are landing and taking off, and Sam comes walking over in abig hurry, a little put out that he has to pose for another picture. 'Okay,' he says, 'where do you want meto standon that nickel'"By the time I got out in the world ready to make something of myself, I already had a strongly ingrainedrespect for the value of a dollar. But my knowledge about money and finances probably wasn't all thatsophisticated in spite of the business degree I had. Then I got to know Helen's family, and listening to herfather, L. S. Robson, was an education in itself. He influenced me a great deal. He was a great salesman,one of the most persuasive individuals I have ever met. And I am sure his success as a trader and abusinessman, his knowledge of finance and the law, and his philosophy had a big effect on me. Mycompetitive nature was such that I saw his success and admired it. I didn't envy it. I admired it. I said tomyself: maybe I will be as successful as he is someday. I loved doing it myself. I'd get down low, turn my plane up on its side, and fly right over a town. Oncewe had a spot picked out, we'd land, go find out who owned the property, and try to negotiate the dealright then. That's another good reason I don't like jets. You can't get down low enough to really tellwhat's going on, the way I could in my little planes. Bud and I picked almost all our sites that way untilwe grew to about 120 or 130 stores. I was always proud of our technique and the results we got. Iguarantee you not many principals of retailing companies were flying around sideways studyingdevelopment patterns, but it worked really well for us. Until we had 500 stores, or at least 400 or so, Ikept up with every real estate deal we made and got to view most locations before we signed any kind ofcommitment. A good location, and what we have to pay for it, is so important to the success of a store. SOUTHPOINT : Coincidentally, it was right about that time that Harry Cunningham chose to retire as the CEO of Kmart,which he had founded while he was chairman of S. S. Kresge. This was a big break for us. Harry wasreally the guy who, in just ten years, had legitimized the discount industry and made Kmart into the modelfor us allthough my good friend, John Geisse, who helped found the Target and Venture stores, wasanother pioneer way ahead of his time.