Just For Him -#thisiscrazylove2016

Staying in the late 1990's for another post. I've enjoyed this hashtag challenge for the most part. Some days it's difficult to summon the will to do the work but I never end a day with it done where I don't feel some sense of fulfillment.

That said, today's #thisiscrazylove2016 goes to my boss back in the late nineties. Her name is Judy Gravett and I learned more than I thought when I worked for her and her husband.

Judy was a perfect combination of loving tenderness mixed with smart business sense. She and her husband decided to open a small gift shop specifically tailored to men.

 This drawing hung beside the front work station at Just For Him for many years. Every time I see it I smile. Them were some good years.  

This drawing hung beside the front work station at Just For Him for many years. Every time I see it I smile. Them were some good years.  

They sold hats, chess tables, novelty games, golfing accessories, flasks, wallets and money clips.

If I recall correctly her husband Bob decided to add a small humidor in the back of the store to so he could get cigars at wholesale.

Little by little people started coming into the small store to get cigars from Bob. Next thing you know, the back of the store called Just For Him became a fully functioning tobacco shop with cigars, pipes and pipe tobacco.

And that little shop is the shop I walked into when I was 18 years old. I had this idea I was going to smoke a pipe.

In the back room was a man in his mid to late twenties, balding on top, stalky build smoking a pipe. We chatted a few minutes and then he helped me pick out my first pipe. He taught me all the tricks to keep it lit and smoke it so it wouldn't burn my tongue.

I was all growns up and stuff.

This man, also named Bob seemed like he was the owner. Of course I found out later he was an employee. The employers, Bob and Judy, ran their store with such leadership that all the employees treated the place as their own.

It was through Judy and Bob that I learned this mentality of ownership.

About two years after I'd started going into JFH they decided they needed to move down the strip mall a few spaces for lore room. They asked any of the regular patrons to help with the big move.

I showed up and worked all night. We moved furniture and inventory and helped reorganize the layouts.

We worked all night. It was great fun.

A little while later I was asked if I'd like to come onboard the Just For Him family as an employee and work a retail job.

Many people will tell you that retail is the lowest form of sales. A miserable experience with horrible customers and bad wages.

This was NOT the experience of working for Judy and Bob.

We were all treated with respect. We were all paid very well. We were all helped out when there was a special need on our lives.

Judy and Bob took great care of us all. We were more than employees. We were, as I wrote a few sentences ago, family.

It was through Judy and Bob that I learned to take people under my wing and help them when needed.

I watched Judy closely when she would make orders, speak to and negotiate with salespeople and figure out sales for the end of the year. They were very good at making strong business decisions and equally talented at taking appropriate risks.

It is through Bob and Judy and the way they ran a business that I think of now that I'm starting one.

Bob left us a few days after Christmas several years back. I have all kinds of humorous and inspiring stories about him swirling around my head. But today I want to share my #thisiscrazylove2016 with Judy Gravett. An amazing boss, a wonderful mentor and an inspirational friend.