Thursday, March 24, 2011

Do you remember Smitty’s Supermarkets? The story lives on.

Why not work at something you love? 

I just finished reading a book about Smitty’s Supermarkets founder Clyde “Smitty” Smith.  What jumped out at me most was Clyde’s passion for the grocery business.  Even as a teenager Smitty was fascinated by merchandise and cash trading hands on the sales floor.  He talked his way into his first grocery job in a small town in Iowa by offering the proprietor, Keith Rushing, into a trial period so that he could prove his worth.  He went on to more than prove his worth.  Rushing took Smith under his wing and became a life-long friend and mentor eventually helping Smith find and start his own store. 

Smith got that first job in 1936. He tried several other career options only to return to the grocery business in 1946 when he opened his own store.  From that one small store he slowly but surely built an empire of market leading stores in Iowa, Arizona, and Missouri eventually opening the country’s first combined grocery and retail space Superstore in 1962.  At the height of their existence Smitty’s was the largest private employer in the state of Arizona.

Over time we get good at what we do or practice repeatedly.  If you are working in your area of passion vocationally and you leverage your strength, you will invariably do amazing things.  These kind of people not only tend to be happier themselves, they tend to make major contributions that positively impact others as well.  I was a benefactor of Smitty’s passion for the grocery business.  

Before I was a coach, I owned a janitorial supply distribution company.  Smitty’s set very high standards for cleanliness and sanitation making then an ideal client for us.  Over the years the Missouri stores became one of our best clients.  Partially because of the help I got along the way from Smitty, I was eventually able to sell Springfield Janitor Supply and now am able to live out my passion vocationally every day in my coaching practice. 

So here is the bottom line.  Why not work at something you love?  You will be happier. You will not want for motivation, and you will end up having a bigger impact on the world around you.  Sounds like a win-win scenario to me. 

For more info on the Smitty’s story read the article in the March 28th, 2011 edition of the Springfield Business Journal reviewing the book Pioneering the Superstore a Retail Revolution-The Story of Clyde”Smitty” Smith.

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