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Life, liberty and lessons learned.

If It’s Worth Doing…

(Part Two) – Persistence, and the value of starting over.

My dad had a little hardware store in De Pere in the 60’s and mid-70’s.  The recession of 1974 did him in.  The bank called his loan due, he sold off everything, including his extra car and his cottage.  Mom got a part-time job at Sears, and Dad found other work.  Through that time, Dad demonstrated the lessons of personal responsibility, of persistence, and of not externalizing your problems onto someone else.  These lessons I would learn several more times and come to rely on in 2007-2010 when I, too, would have to start over.

The first carpet store wasn’t much.  We were first located at 1623 Main Street, Green Bay in the old Hummel Lumber building.  Dad’s “office” was literally made of cardboard.

Next, we rented an old gas station on Hall Avenue in Marinette that opened only on weekends.  I was 17 and, since I was in the DECA program, I could leave school at noon on Fridays.  I would be in Marinette to open the store for 1:00, run it until 9:00 p.m. and then sleep in the office.  I’d open the store all day Saturday, sleep in the office again, open up for a half-day on Sunday and then go home for school the next week.  I did that for several months until we could take the risk of hiring a full time employee to manage it.  I am proud that the Marinette store has been providing services and jobs in the area to dozens of people for over 35 years now!

I eventually became President of Macco’s Floor Covering Centers and its second largest share-holder.  Before I left we had expanded to a total of 6 locations, and they now employ nearly 100 people.  My Dad, 82, is still most proud of the employee cars in the parking lot.  Dad knows exactly who is getting married, buying a house, or having a baby.  It was his risk and extremely hard work that made that possible.

There are many folks who, after 3 decades, still work at Macco’s, and I thoroughly enjoy chatting with those original employees.

It seems nowadays mediocrity has been made a virtue.  I’m glad Dad taught us that it wasn’t any harder to shoot for excellence.

Starting From Scratch
Part One
My parents instilled, in me, a sense of self-reliance and hard work. We grew up – 2 parents and 6 children – living in a 1,200 square foot house, three bedrooms and one bathroom.  I lived in that house my entire life until I got married. Read >
If It’s Worth Doing…
Part Two
My dad had a little hardware store in De Pere in the 60’s and mid-70’s.  The recession of 1974 did him in.  The bank called his loan due, he sold off everything, including his extra car and his cottage. Read >
Finishing Strong
Part Three
I met Suzan Noel at age 13 when her family moved in a block away from us.  We would eventually get married one week after my 20th birthday. Read >
We Did Build That
Part Four
In April 1994, after 18 years and 6 locations, I resigned as President of Macco’s Floor Covering Centers, sold my interest in the company and exited the retail floor covering business. Read >
Peaks & Valleys
Part Five
“Sue’s tests were not good today – I claim Jesus’ name over her health.  I cannot lose her – she has been there for 35 years as a friend and partner – Lord give me strength to be there for her.  Thank you, John.”  Read >
Citizen Legislator
Part Six
This past spring, we were discussing how to make the pie bigger throughout Northeastern Wisconsin.  We began talking about the importance of quality leadership representing our region in Madison.  Read >
10,000 Hours
Part Seven
The state of Wisconsin is a massive organization. Our total Gross Domestic Production, the number of all goods and services produced, is the size of the entire country of Singapore! Read >

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