My Father's Business: The Small-Town Values That Built Dollar General into a Billion-Dollar Company

My Father's Business: The Small-Town Values That Built Dollar General into a Billion-Dollar Company


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The first-person account of the family that changed the American retail landscape that Dave Ramsey calls a must-read.

Longtime Dollar General CEO Cal Turner, Jr. shares his extraordinary life as heir to the company founded by his father, Cal Turner, Sr., and his grandfather, a dirt farmer turned Depression-era entrepreneur. Cal's narrative is at its heart a father-son story, from his childhood in Scottsville, Kentucky, where business and family were one, to the triumph of reaching the Fortune 300 — at the cost of risking that very father/son relationship. Cal shares how the small-town values with which he was raised helped him guide Dollar General from family enterprise to national powerhouse.

Chronicling three generations of a successful family with very different leadership styles, Cal Jr. shares a wealth of wisdom from a lifetime on the entrepreneurial front lines. He shows how his grandfather turned a third-grade education into an asset for success. He reveals how his driven father hatched the game-changing dollar price point strategy and why it worked. And he explains how he found his own leadership style when he took his place at the helm — values-based, people-oriented, and pragmatic. Cal's story provides a riveting look at the family love and drama behind Dollar General's spectacular rise, pays homage to the working-class people whose no-frills needs helped determine its rock-bottom prices, and shares the life and lessons of one of America's most compelling business leaders.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Mr. Turner writes with touching candor about the challenges of sustaining a family business.—Wall Street Journal

An inspiring story...if you are an ambitious businessman or entrepreneur, My Father's Business will show you the future direction....should be a required read for the teachers and students of business.—The Washington Book Review

[This] well-written, honest recommended for the general reader, business owners, entrepreneurs, job changers, and business-school students who want to understand the thinking that shaped the company's growth and fueled its problems.—Booklist

My Father's Business is the story of what it took to build Dollar General into a national retail chain from its rural, Kentucky roots and will encourage anyone with a dream of building a business.—Doug McMillon, president and CEO, Walmart

My Father's Business ought to be required reading in any business school . . . . a great book!
Peter Handal, President and CEO, Dale Carnegie Training

A fascinating glimpse into the philosophy and logistics of the dollar-store business model...—

A revealing and colorful book . . . Cal Jr.'s openness about the trials and tribulations both within the family and the company itself, as well as his personal reflection in retirement, is something we can all learn from and is sure to help us be more honest in our own self-assessments.
Senator Bob Corker

My Father's Business is a MUST-READ for an aspiring young entrepreneur and an enjoyable read for anyone.—Dr. Thomas Frist, co-founder, Hospital Corporation of America

A fantastic book, for new entrepreneurs and CEOs alike, and it will inspire everyone who wants to integrate personal aspirations, family values, and best business practices.—Rev. Dr. Becca Stevens, founder and president of Thistle Farms

The story of Dollar General is an example of what makes our country so great.—George Roberts, co-founder and co-chair, KKR

This is more than the tale of Dollar General . . . . It is a story of family turmoil as well as wild success.—Senator Lamar Alexander

I highly recommend this book as an insight into what is really important in business.—Michael W. Smith, singer/songwriter

Kirkus Reviews

In this debut book, a retired executive examines the genesis and evolution of his family's business, Dollar General.Turner was born three months after his grandfather and father established a wholesale business in 1939, the entrepreneurial seed that would eventually blossom into the iconic Dollar General. During the lean Depression years, retailers everywhere were going under. The Turners made a business of buying leftover inventories and selling them to healthier merchandisers or moving them through their own general store in Scottsville, Kentucky, at bargain prices. But the author's father had an incurable penchant for overbuying and was chronically saddled with too much stock, so he began to sell that inventory in his own stores at a single price—one dollar—inspired by single-day sales popular at the time. The first Dollar General opened in Springfield, Kentucky, in 1955; went public in 1962; and by the time the author retired after serving a quarter century as its president, the company boasted $6 billion in annual sales, with nearly 6,000 locations and 60,000 employees. Turner's impressively candid chronicle—written lucidly and sometimes affectingly with Simbeck—covers not only the company's triumphs, but its dark days as well, including its brutal disputes with the Teamsters, a risky overexpansion in the '80s, and an embarrassing accounting scandal in the early 2000s. The fulcrum of the intriguing tale is the dual joy and anguish of a family-run business—as CEO of the company, Turner fired his younger brother, Steve, and oversaw the forced expulsion of his father from the board of directors. The author also thoughtfully reflects on his own life and the lessons he learned from his father's and grandfather's examples, not only about business, but responsibility, family, and spirituality as well. Turner once considered becoming a preacher, but ultimately the family business issued a clarion call: "It turned out I was called into true ministry—ministry that matters in the real world, the world of hurt and pain and error and sin, which to my mind was an even higher calling than the institutional ministry."An edifying account of entrepreneurial success.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781478992967
Publisher: Center Street
Publication date: 04/09/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 253,008
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

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