1979 Crash Hurried Magic Mart's End

by Jack Whitsett  on Monday, Mar. 31, 2014 12:00 am  

“I have to be there,” she recalled telling her husband when he suggested that missing a day of work would not be unacceptable. “They can’t run that place without me.”

‘Mr. Dave’

Sterling Stores Inc. co-founder Dave Grundfest Sr. loved the variety store business and figured everyone else must, too.

Excerpted below are weekly notes Grundfest, as president of Sterling, sent to his management team. They reveal a keen retail mind, as well as someone who took irrepressible joy in his work.

The weekly instructions/musings included here were produced in 1941 and headed “To All Store Managers and District Men.”

• “Next Sunday is Mother’s Day. Certainly all of us who are fortunate enough to have our Mother with us should be grateful and certainly we should do everything we can to help those who want to remember their Mother on Mother’s Day by making our windows and our counters very attractive for this occasion, so even the thoughtless will be forced to remember their Mother on Mother’s Day.”

• “We are now beginning to feel a definite upward trend in prices and we can not absorb these increases. Our operations cost is as high or higher today than it has ever been. We must begin thinking about getting higher prices.

“I think this calls for a lot of thinking on the part of you men who run these Sterling Stores, and I would like an expression from you, telling me instances where you think there is a possibility of getting increased prices on definite items.”

• “Women’s Nainsook and Flowered Print Gowns for 29 and 39 cents are coming into their own. With the coming of the hot weather, these gowns become very popular with the female species.”

• “Shirts and Shorts at 15 cents are coming into their own at this season of the year because with hot weather and perspiration a man can’t wear a suit of underwear a whole week now. He just has to change sometime, even before Thursday.”

• “It seems every time the German Army advances, prices do likewise. If they could do something to stop the German Army from advancing, I wouldn’t give a damn what happened to the prices, they could go up or down but so you will be informed a bit, here are a few of the latest advances:

“Alarm Clocks, 70 cents F.O.B. Factory ...



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