Sunday, May 20, 2018

My Father's Business by Cal Turner, Jr. with Rob Simbeck

Cal Turner, Jr. grew up in a retail family. His dad bought and resold close outs, remainders, and irregulars. His dad made the leap to the marketing idea in 1955 of selling everything for a dollar.

Cal, Jr. went to college, did a tour in the navy and then joined his dad's business. His first job was opening stores, then negotiating leases. The decision was made to take the company public. Dollar General expanded and over time became a Fortune 500 company.

When Cal, Sr. ran the business, it was at a time when a seat-of-the-pants growth worked. (102) As the company grew, Cal, Jr. brought in computers, inventory control, and strategic planning. The father and son were two strong personalities under one business roof and all did not always go well. Business decisions often severely strained family relationships.

I liked some of the retail philosophy of the Turners. They felt they were helping those with little money. I did not like the struggle they had with the unions. The kind of business they were in, however, meant that the profit margin was small and paying union wages was not possible, they felt. I was also bothered that Cal, Jr. moved the business headquarters in violation of the bylaws because he knew no one paid attention to them. (166)

Cal, Jr. shares the leadership lessons he has learned over his lifetime. He hopes that reading this book will inspire people to pursue their passion and serve others. I recommend this book to readers who are interested in the personal aspect of how a small town retail business expanded and grew into a billion dollar company with over 14,000 stores in 44 states.

My rating: 4/5 stars

Cal Turner, Jr. grew up in Scottsville, Kentucky. After graduating from Vanderbilt University, he served for three years as an officer in the United States Navy before beginning his career at Dollar General, where he served as CEO for thirty-seven years. He has served on the boards of several companies, and educational, civic, and charitable organizations. A committed life long Methodist, he was inducted in 2001 into the Fellows of the Society of John Wesley by the Tennessee Conference of the UMC.

Center Street, 272 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

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