Chapter 9 "Kmart really took us on in about 1977, and I remember Little Rock particularly. They took us on therein North Little Rock, where store number 7 had been one of our better stores. They got aggressive, andwe fought back. We told our manager there, 'No matter what, don't let them undersell you at all, onanything.' I remember he called me one Saturday night and said, 'You know, we have Crest toothpastedown to six cents a tube now.' And I said, 'Well, just keep it there and see what they do.' They didn'tlower it any more than that, and we both just kept it at six cents. Finally, they backed off. I alwaysthought they learned something about us at that storethat we don't bend easybecause they never cameat us with that degree of price cutting anywhere else."We got so much better so quickly it was hard to believe. We totally stood Kmart off in those smalltowns of ours. Almost from the beginning, they weren't very successful at taking our customers away inJeff City and Poplar Bluff. Once Kmart arrived, we, worked even harder at pleasing our customers, andthey stayed loyal. This gave us a great surge of confidence in ourselves. "Then he says: 'Tell me what's wrong. What am I doing wrong' I wish I could recount a valiant military careerlike my brother Bud, who was a Navy bomber pilot on acarrier in the Pacificbut my service stint was really fairly ordinary time spent as a lieutenant and then as acaptain doing things like supervising security at aircraft plants and POW camps in California and aroundthe country. 天天色,天天干,天天操,天天射,天天好逼网,天天色综合网 We applaud associates who have created particularly successful displays, or who have won one of ourVPI (Volume Producing Item) contests, and we honor them. The point is that we're not there to honorour shareholders as much as we are to let them meet the folks who are responsible for the amazingreturns on their investments year after year. Finally we caught, and then passed, old John over there acrossHazel Street. But next door to him, on theother side from us, was a Kroger grocery store. By now, I was real involved in the community and keptmy ear to the ground pretty good, and I heard thatSterlingwas going to buy Kroger's lease and expandJohn's store into that space, making their store much bigger than mine. So I hustled down toHot Springs,to find the landlady of that Kroger building. Somehow, I convinced her to give me the lease, instead ofgiving it toSterling. I didn't have any idea what I was going to do with it, but I sure knew I didn't wantSterlingto have it. Well, I decided to put in a small department store. NowNewportalready had severaldepartment stores, one of which happened to be owned by my store's landlord, P. K. Holmes. That mayor may not have had something to do with the trouble which was going to come soon. But we didn't thinkanything about it.