February 25, 2017

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Dick’s Sporting Goods


A bad boss inspired this sporting goods empire

Sometimes a bad experience can inspired a better business. In this case, a multi-billion dollar business.

That’s what happened to Richard Stack in 1948. He was just 18, when his boss at an Army Navy surplus store asked the youngster to think how the store could expand into camping and fishing supplies.

Working on his own time, and losing sleep for several nights, young Dick Stack drew up a comprehensive merchandising plan. But his Boss’s reaction stunned him. Unable to appreciate the scheme, he rejected it, calling Dick a dumb kid who’d “never make a good merchant.”

Upset, Dick quit. He went to his grandmother’s house and told her the story. Instead of comforting him with cookies and milk, she took $300 out of the cookie jar and told him to follow his dream.

Well Stack did. With his grandma’s savings and relentless hard work he opened a Bait and Tackle shop in Binghamton, New York. But he didn’t stop there. A decade later, he expanded into sports merchandise, added a second store, and brought his son into the business.

And so was born Dick’s Sporting Goods. From a humble bait and tackle shop it’s grown into one of the world’s largest sporting goods retailers. With warehouse-style super stores, offering equipment and apparel for individual and team sports, plus hunting, fishing, hiking and fitness gear.

Today Dicks has 450 locations. It remains a family business, and it’s made the founder’s son, Edward Stack, a billionaire. But it might never have happened if not for a bad boss, a boy with a dream, and a grandma with some cash in her cookie jar.

Dick Stack exemplifies an axiom featured on our website: Use a Bad Experience to Create a Better Business.

He took a business plan he wrote for an ungrateful boss and launched what became a sporting goods empire. Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Now Why Didn’t I Think of That?

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