May 1994, a pivotal day in my life. Janet had taken this picture of me arriving home after my first day at Dick’s Sporting Goods. I had just gotten out of the car after a 1-½ commute home, with my untied tie. Little did I know what was in store for me. I was about to enter into eight years of personal growth.
Dick’s was a regional player back then, with 12 stores in the Northeast. The company had re-located their headquarters from Binghamton, NY to Pittsburgh, PA. That’s where I started. Ed Stack – CEO, and Bill Columbo – President, had a vision, and it was captivating.
The next seven years was exhilarating. The Company went through two rounds of re-capitalization. We went through many quarters of comp sales decreases. We struggled to keep the vendor community engaged. We learned how to engage and motivate our customers. All of us became better merchants.
I learned a lot at Dick’s. I learned how to build an assortment, how to price & promote, how to launch a label, how to turn goods, how to maximize margin mix. I loved what I was doing. We punched the chain out to 120+ doors. I was managing a $70 million department.
I became disillusioned in my eight year at Dick’s. I got worn down by the three-hour daily commutes, the 10-hour workdays, the weekend travel to stores every month, the trade show/buying trips. The tie & jacket dress code. I was missing a big part of my Girls growing up. Janet wasn’t helping matters, it was then that she started to push my kids away from me.
That year I left the Company, not entirely sure what I was going to do next.
Today I witnessed a spectacular PR event. Apple had a little event to introduce the iPhone. Tim, Phil, Scott, Eddy, and Greg went on stage to introduce the new iPhone and iPods. This is a product line that single-handling out-grosses Microsoft in it’s entirety.
They were dressed in casual shirts and jeans. No ties. Their presentation was world-class. They spoke from passion I hope they are happy. I hope they have the work/life balance that I didn’t achieve. I hope they are as passionate about their families as they are about their work. I hope their children are happy.