We love going to San Francisco and one of my hubs fave stores is Wilkes Bashford. It is a S.F. landmark for business men and their fancy wives. If I am honest, the store is totally boring for me. And, I get all antsy when I have to sit in there and wait for the hubs. The last time we were there I saw this book and the sequel “Hug Your People” on the counter. I stopped to look at them and the woman behind the counter said, “You can have one of each and would you like them autographed?”. Well, yes, I do! The store had recently be bought out by the Mitchell family (they own other stores back east) and Jack Mitchell, the author, was right there talking with customers. He came over and introduced himself, asked me about what I do and signed the books. Little did I know I had just been “hugged”.
It would be easy to get turned off by this book by the title, the age of Mr. Mitchell and the first couple of chapters. I probably would have stopped reading if I he had not been just SO kind to me that day. I am glad I kept going. His philosophy on customer service is beyond anything that a Nordstrom or Neiman Marcus would ever have. He demonstrates his ideas of “hugging customers” over and over again. But as the chapters went on, I realized I was getting a hard-hitting lesson in business by the ultimate business “Grand Dad”. Chapters on his philosophies towards everything from hiring to inventory control, to cash, to real estate, to advertising and goal setting were eye-opening and sometimes just the tough love you might need to hear. If your family owns businesses, there is even more for you to learn. He delves into the structure of his family owned business and why it works.
This book was written long before Twitter, Facebook and the ” Gary V’s” of the world became popular. This book IS old school. However, treating your customers like Kings and Queens never gets old and Mr. Mitchell’s ideas and advice are relevant today. I am so glad that I got into the middle of the book and I look forward to our next trip to San Francisco just so that I can hug Mr. Mitchell.
You can buy his book from Amazon here:
P.S. I was in a newer LuluLemon store and they had several copies of this book for the new hires to read! Just saying….