Entertaining real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life. The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on April 12th, 2016
Chuck Williams: A non-businessman who helped build a business empire.

Chuck Williams
Chuck Williams  

Today, the firm that Chuck started, Williams - Sonoma, is a retail home furnishings and mail order empire, with over 600 stores, including the Pottery Barn.

Williams - Sonoma has $4.7 billion in annual revenue.

But in 1956, when Chuck opened a French cookware shop in Sonoma, about 35 miles north of San Francisco, most Americans knew little about fancy copper pots, pleated soufflé molds, garlic presses and other gourmet items.

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However, fine dining and fancy utensils were Chuck's passion, and in 1958 he opened a second store in San Francisco.

His timing was excellent. Soon TV gourmet chef and author Julia Child began convincing viewers and readers they too could prepare gourmet meals.

Eventually Chuck had five stores, and he published a mail order catalogue. Seemingly everything was going great, but in reality, it wasn't.

Chuck was a passionate connoisseur with wonderful taste, but he was not a businessman and his business was losing money.

So in 1978, Chuck sold Williams – Sonoma to successful businessman W. Howard Lester and Lester's partner James McMahan. Lester wisely kept Chuck and the Williams – Sonoma name and as the CEO, Lester made the business decisions.

Meanwhile, Chuck did what he loved, which was travelling widely to select the merchandise for the stores, and spending time with employees and customers while overseeing the catalogues and writing cookbooks.

Chuck Williams
Chuck Williams  
IPhoto: iacp.com

Over the years, Chuck's catalogs were a huge success and he wrote over 200 cookbooks, which sold many millions of copies, making him a very popular author.

Even late in his life he remained active in the business, and enjoyed sharing his wisdom from a lifetime of experience.

Doing what he loved, and being with whom he loved made all the difference for Chuck, who lived to be 100, passing away in 2015.

Success Tip of the Week: To achieve your goals, try what Chuck did, by doing what you love and partnering with others who have the skills and desire to do the other tasks.

Editor's Note: To learn more about Chuck click here and here. To see a 4 minute YouTube company tribute to Chuck, click here. Visit the company website or learn more about W. Howard Lester.

In the next KazanToday: Neither rich nor famous, a woman who uplifted many lives.

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Also from Dick:

A Touch of Wisdom Personal Writings Of Love Sane Ramblings

Memorable Quotes

Writings Of Love

Brief Commentaries

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