I am an experienced poet. I know all formats but love writing Rhyme Poetry. I write articles as well
It is a beautiful day out here. The sun is shining, birds are chirping and the weather is great. I would think Mr. George would've wanted it this way. My name is Chris Johnson. I'm headed to go and pay my respects to George Prince. His memorial service is at The Royal Palm Golf Course. Mr. George passed away in his sleep a few days ago. I heard that he was sick. The family says they expected it. I met one of his sons, Howard, when I worked in Quality Stores. The family is taking it pretty well. He said to me that his father lived a great life. As I pull in, I see much people are here. Howard is the eldest son. Mr. George was a great businessman. His biggest accomplishment is finding one of the nation's biggest grocery chains. In Quality Stores he was called Mr. George. Outside of them he was just called George. I never saw him but wish I would have.
George was born September 29, 1907. Jennifer Williams was his mother and Jason Prince was his father. His mother and father were married before their first child, Christopher, was born. A year later their first twins Shayla and Kayla were born. After the twins, she decided to be home more. By the time George came it was permanent. That was her fourth and last child. His father advised her to be a stay at home mom. Especially knowing they saved up enough money. Jennifer is a nurse and Jason is a businessman himself. George and his family lived in Harris, GA. They all stayed in a small town where everyone knew one another. This is where he showed the early signs of being an innovator. He loved designing new things. There wasn’t much during those times but he made it work. His mom said that he got that from his father. When he had to present an assignment in school, it was always different. He did things normal kids wouldn’t do. When kids played, he was studying. He wanted to change the world.
The Prince Family Store
George knew that changing the world was going to be a challenge. Instead of rejecting it, he embraced it. George was really before his time. His father was a general merchandiser. He owned a farmer's store in the town. Once he got older, he worked in his family store. In that store George did much. His father saw how he loved communicated with the customers. They loved him and he loved them. One in particular, Anne Smith, loved him too much. The store catered to the farmers in the city. It was great since there were mostly farmers there. They were also the biggest store. George was very grateful but, he wasn't satisfied. He knew that they could offer more. One day, he also knew he would give it.
He presented an idea to his father. The idea would help to reach a larger audience. His father listened. He shook his head seeming to agree. George saw the look on his face. He said “You do not like it do you?” That was great that he noticed that. One of the keys in business is reading body language. The presentation was great. His father loved it and said "Son, I love how you came up to me. I admire your confidence. When you talked, I saw what you could be. That idea is great for us.” George started smiling but his joy wasn’t over board. He still could not get pass the look on his father's face. By the end, it was confirmed. What he was thinking was right. His father declined the proposal.
Due to some unfortunate events, the store had to close. Despite it, dad saw opportunity. He decided to relocate to Atlanta, GA. Before the decision, he told George to stay behind. The rest of the children were excited for the move. Dad saw something different in his youngest child. He trusted him to sell the inventory they had left. His parents agreed that the opportunity was great. It is bigger and much more people. They already had a new store building. Everything was ready to go. While packing that night she was thinking. Thinking of a proposal of her own. She planned to tell him the next day.
The Second Proposal
They woke up, loaded the car. Once finished, they left to Atlanta. Jennifer presented the second proposal as she planned. The kids slept in the back. Jennifer asked "So honey, who are you targeting in your new store since the opportunity is better?" She was just as excited as the kids. That was until he answered. He said “Farmers. I told our son the same thing." In anger, she agrees to disagree. She does that normally but she was angry. Atlanta is the capital of Georgia. She expected her husband to think bigger. Instead, he thought smaller. There is nothing wrong with catering to farmers but why not to others? Instead of staying angry, she apologizes. He says “Honey, I know the worlds changing. I see the chaos. I know farmers will need our stores. I must cater to them.” There is more money for the family but, the vision is limited. George and mom had an expanded vision in mind.
George sees how bad things really are at store. The cotton fields were decimated and he said “I guess my dad saw this coming.” That played a role in him leaving. George also wanted to stay because he wanted to finish high school too. After he completed everything, he joined his family in Atlanta. In 1924, he enrolled at Georgia Tech. He spent the days working and nights going to class. George loved his father greatly but he knew his intentions. He just wanted to offer more and figured who had it. He visited a local American Supermarket. The store had just what he needed. He also saw they were hiring. It catered to farmers and non-farmers. George wanted to dig deeper. When he got home he did. The store operated in the southern area. There is also operation in the Midwest. It’s first true self-service store opened in 1916 in Memphis, Tennessee. He applied to work as a clerk at the store in the area. Even before hearing from them, he gave a great first impression. He learned early that your first impression can be your last one.
The supermarket was called Piggly Wiggly. He loved servicing others and it showed early. George was more passionate about that than school. His grades were constantly slipping. Things got so had, he dropped out of college. Sadly, he never returned. Instead, he built his skill set. He worked as a cab driver and was good at it. He loved everyone that entered his vehicle. They were all treated like he would want to. One of the riders told him "You are in the wrong business. " Jr did not understand the meaning but he took heed. He walked away from that job after a day. He became a salesman and sold shoes and candy. He started delivering groceries for his father’s store. Since he and his father did not see eye to eye, he never worked there. He helped the best way he could. He got a call from Piggly Wiggly store. They reviewed his application and hired him as a store clerk. Once he started they weren't disappointed. From the start he was very impressive. He built relationships with the customers and much more. Piggy Wiggly loved him.
One of the managers noticed it as well. His performance at work was beyond expectations. It's highly unusual you see managerial skills in a clerk. Especially within a short period. So he told others about him daily. By week eight on the job, things changed. It was unfortunate for the manager. He fell ill and had to take time off from the job. In the midst, he gave a recommendation. He wanted George to replace him. The next day, he was promoted to temporary manager in all of the stores. The constant chatter from the manager got around. It reached the head office. The guy who owns the chain, John Peabody, took notice. As he worked as the temporary manager, he was under microscope. Peabody was impressed. Store sales were great. Sadly, after four months more changed. He walked away from the job.
As he worked one day, he started talking to a customer. His name was Mike Johnson. Mike was in the real estate business. He saw George work and knew he'd fit in it. Often, he came to the store. For a long time he has come there just for him. Peabody was watching him and Mike was. One day, George was working and saw him shopping. Like he does most in the store, he walked up. He said to him "Hello sir, may I help you find something?" Mike said no thank you but that he also loved his work. As the two were close, more qualities were exposed and his agency needed it. The two separated but Mike could not forget the encounter. While checking out, the clerk said “Hello Mr. Johnson. Did you get everything you needed?” After replying yes, it Is visible that Johnson Is in deep thought. He has his own real estate agency. All he Is waiting on Is the opportunity to invite him aboard. He knew it was coming soon.
The next day George did his normal procedure before work. He stopped by a local coffee shop around from the job. He walked to the counter, took his order and took a seat. While sitting, he saw a shadow above the table. He heard a voice say “I have been watching you.” As he turned around, he saw who it Is. It was Mike Johnson. He had no clue what will happen next. The two sat down and had a great conversation. After a brief conversation, Mike got to the point. He offered a position as a real estate agent. Ironically, George was studying real estate. No one knew about it. This is what made the opportunity much more desirable. To him, it Is perfect timing. He gladly took the offer and Mike showed him the ropes. The test to become an agent he passed with flying colors. Like Mike knew, George thrived in his agency. After one selling of a house, he earned a generous commission. His boss Is ecstatic but he knew that more was in store. The market in South Florida presented an opportunity the agency couldn’t refuse. They all made plans for the trip to sunny South Florida. Surprisingly, Mike’s wife changed her husband's schedule. As a result, he stayed behind. George decided to go alone. A new career was on the was on the horizon.
Meanwhile, an old friend was setting up a meeting. The meetings was with the head of the Piggly Wiggly chain. John Hussleis the old friend. Along the way, he made rest stops. Sometimes it's for fuel, food or just rest. He stopped at one in Tampa, FA. There he ran into John Hussle. John told him he was on his way to an event at the Peabody building. It is an event for real estate agents. George was invited to join him. Despite him being on a time frame he said “I'll be there.” Both got into their cars and headed to the event. George saw much opportunities in the area. The two arrived to the building at the same time. They both parked and walked inside. On their way in, a well-groomed male was walking out. Mike said “Hello Mr. Peabody. Are you leaving?" George was shocked he stood in front of the icon. When Hussle attempted to introduce him, Peabody said “I know who he is. I was leaving but I think I will stick around. I want to talk yo George. Thank you John." Geo had no clue what it was for. He was too excited to figure it out.
Peabody told George "You was not only watched by your manager. I was watching you as well." George was in shock. The founder of the chain was watching him. That sparked a conversation. The two walked to the bar of the building. He, Hussle and Peabody talked. As they talked and disturbing news was revealed. That manager that fell ill passed away. Peabody wanted him to fill the role permanently. George expressed his condolences first. Soon after, it was his gratitude and that he was a huge fan. Unfortunately, he said “With all due respect sir, I will decline.” He turned the offer down for the real estate opportunity. Peabody heard he was into real estate. He thought that he could change his mind himself. Peabody also knew George was better in the grocery business. Before leaving George said "It was a pleasure meeting you sir." Soon after the two departed. Before it Peabody assured him that he has a place if he would return. George walked towards his car. Hussle walked him to it.
By this time, George was thinking. Hussle spoke to Peabody like he knew him and Peabody said thank you. That was strange to George. Hussle came to the car right before he got in and said “Nice seeing you again. Our families were born and raised in Harris. We were frequent visitors in the prince store. I was always with them. I was a kid but I saw your work.” As George was prepared to leave, Hussle gave him a reminder. “Real Estate is not you. Peabody is right. You are a grocery guy. You always looked uncomfortable in that store. I went into real estate because I wanted more just like you. You are into real estate but I don’t think you want in this industry.” After that, George suspected something else. He suspected that Hussle may have had something to do with him meeting Peabody. Hussle felt it and came clean. He said "Peabody knew you were coming. I told him I knew you and could get you here. Have a safe trip buddy. " George rode off smiling and said "Thank You."
As he drove towards the freeway he thought about it. Once he got on the freeway, his reluctance was strong. Real Estate he wanted. He loved what Peabody said. Meeting him is what he loved the most. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to change his mind. Before getting to Miami a list of unfortunate events occurred. He took a rest stop in West Palm Beach, FL. There he found that the real estate market burst. It was not long before he realized that Real estate was in bad shape. Around the same time, Wall Street crashed as well. The great depression was near and so were great things. George got off the freeway and turned around the car. He was no longer reluctant. He called his boss and told him he resigned. He headed back to Tampa.
Setback For a Comeback
George found out more devastating news. His parents were killed in a car crash. At that moment, he decides to continue the legacy. There are no more signs that he needed. He was in route back to Tampa already. This was just motivation. Peabody said that he could start immediately as the store manager. Once settled in, he did just that. After a month, his sales increased in that area store. He was offered the same position in Winter Haven, Fl. That was the company’s largest store. He had the exact same success there. Despite it all, Peabody was selling the chain. George later found that he already did. It was sold to a businessman in Atlanta, GA. George wanted to talk to the new owner. He attempted to do so at his Atlanta office. Sadly, he drove there to be very disappointed. The new owner refused to speak to him. George knew that he was available. It was a setback but he was going to comeback stronger.
The Great Depression
Despite the disappointment, George wasn't discouraged. Even in the midst of the great depression, he remained positive. He refused to think of the real estate market or wall street crashing. Instead he saw it as an opportunity. To him the timing was great. He saved much as well. It wouldn't be much today but it was back than. As he drove back to Winter Haven, he came up with a strategy. He bought 30 shares of a local supermarket. Each share was valued at $100. Seventeen of the shares were used and the rest he kept. A few friends and superiors purchased what he had. What he raised in doing so was significant during that time. With that money he purchased his own store and named it Quality Stores.
George purchased two stores. In the first was all he needed. He and five employees competed directly with his former workplace. Piggly Wiggly took notice. They did numerous things to compete and be steadfast in power. George noticed it all. It Is a challenge competing with a big food corporation but they did. In a year that Piggly Wiggly was closed. The economy got better and so did his store. He opened the other within five years. That store had more employees and products to offer. They were both successful but he was forced to close the stores. Despite their closure, expansion was near.
To Be Continued
© 2022 Ryan Jarvis Cornelius