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Sunday, February 28, 2010
How to Build a Business Warren Buffett Would Buy
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.