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Sunday, February 28, 2010

How to Build a Business Warren Buffett Would Buy

I thought that my mother and I could not possibly have any overlapping taste in books.  There are two exceptions that have proven themselves over the past two years.  One was the old family copy of Don't Forget the Star that she sent in 1998 and the other is How to Build a Business Warren Buffet Would Buy that she sent this last Christmas.

The book is the story of RC WIlley, the Utah and now Nevada and Idaho furniture store.  I knew RC Willey as the store where Joanna and I bought some of our furniture in Utah.  There was also an episode where I lived behind the West Valley store in a storage shed with my friend Dave but that's a story for another day.

So RC Willey started a store, and then he died.  This book is actually the story of his son in law who wasn't named Willey and who actually saved the store from the creditors and built up a debt free furniture and appliance industry.  Yes common business sense abounds, treat the customer right, make sure you keep your product line relevant, watch the bottom line.  The main things that made the story remarkable were that after inheriting the store in a pile of debt, Mr. Child kept it debt free and never opened on a Sunday.  Those are two bold moves that should have smothered this retail company as soon as a more nimble and less risk adverse competitor came to town.  However the concept worked and the owner was able to make a bundle selling out to Warren Buffett.  Not that selling out to Buffett is like selling out, he usually lets the business owners continue on as before and if you're in love with your business I would suppose that's the way to go.

The book is steeped in folksy charm.  In my younger years I would have vomited at the sentimental viewpoint but now that I'm a bit older my tolerance for maple sap spilled all over the page has increased a bit.  This book was a good read but it sent me looking for something darker to cleanse my palate.  But thanks Mom, maybe we do have some tastes in common after all.

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Hey I appreciate you leaving your thoughts behind! Be well my friend.