Fight For What We Care For

November 30, 2014
More than a year ago, Donna and I lost our beloved son, Stephen, who had been diagnosed in his teens with a rare mitochondrial disease that slowly cost him his eyesight, his hearing, his strength, and finally, his life. Since then, I have not stopped asking questions. I have not...

Life is short. Go places

November 23, 2014
This is a story about the Gonce family, who live in Oak Grove, Mississippi. They are discoverers. Daughters, Lauren and Leslie started out on a trip to Chicago to visit The American Girl store. Their mom and dad, Chris and Leslie, took some detours along the way. This is how...

The Lizard and the Boy

November 16, 2014
If you’ve ever loved something special, you know how upsetting it can be to have it lost. Over the years, our youngest guests have left behind (or lost) toys, books, balls, you name it… But not until recently has someone lost a lizard. I received a letter from the Marco...

Staking Our Reputation on Customer Service

November 9, 2014
When my father started his business in 1927, he had one original goal: “good food and good service at a fair price.” He staked his reputation on superior customer service. Not much has changed today. Our dedication to the customer is apparent in everything we do… right down to the...

Healthy Employees = Healthy Company

November 2, 2014
My father believed from the day he and my mother opened their first Hot Shoppe in 1927 that you must put your employees first. He treated every employee as an extended family member including making sure they had proper medical care. This was revolutionary. Our country hadn’t established child labor...

From Comic Books to Content Studios

October 26, 2014
1967 comic book featuring instructions on how to make a jello mold. It all began in the late 1960’s when we published comic books for customers to read in our Hot Shoppes restaurants. We had celebrity articles on personalities like Sally Field, who was starring in “The Flying Nun.” You...

Thanks for Thank-You Notes

October 19, 2014
Listen to blog Dear Thank-You Note, Reports of your death have been greatly exaggerated. I wrote over 700 hundred thank-you notes last year, but we octogenarians can’t keep carrying the torch of proper etiquette. (Maybe torch is the wrong word when referring to notepaper.) I worry most about the Millennials....

Into the Details

October 12, 2014
When my father asked our Board of Directors to elect me president of our company in 1964, he wrote me a very thoughtful letter describing how I should develop my management style to be an effective executive. In a recent interview, I was asked, which item on my father’s list...

Why Ask Why

October 4, 2014
In their book Double Down, Mark Halperin & John Heilemann briefly mentioned President George W. Bush’s lack of curiosity as one reason why the last half of his second term was not as successful as it could have been. As I ponder why some people are successful in business and...

The End of an Era

September 27, 2014
My father, who founded our company with a nine-stool root beer stand in 1927, came from a family of eight children. Dad had four sisters and three brothers. Woodrow was the youngest member of the family and he died in 2005. His widow, Judy Cannon Marriott, passed away on August...