Tuesday, February 22, 2011

History of Clarkston--1st person interview with Dick Morgan (2005--when Dick was 90 years old)

History of Business in Clarkston
Info gathered by Geri Batt
March 8, 2005

Interview with Dick Morgan (born in 1915)

In 1932, Dick opened his business in Clarkston, Morgan’s Service, a full service auto repair with a gasoline pump. At that time the town was full of retail businesses: 4 grocery stores, 2 hardware stores, 3 car dealerships, 3 barber shops, an apothecary and a bank. There was also a grist mill, central telephone operator, and a restaurant. Dick described Clarkston as a “thriving town”. Farmers would bring their crops into the mill, go eat, and shop in town. He mentioned enjoying conversations with who he referred to now as the “old timers”. Personal service was important in those years. If you dropped off a prescription, it was filled and delivered to you when requested. At the grocery stores, 2 men worked to fill your order. Customers were treated with kindness and waited on. Dick said, “Fifty years ago, no one was in a hurry”. He too prided himself on giving personal service.

Through the years, the village has remained the same size, one square mile but the downtown area has changed considerably. The grist mill is now a real estate office as is one of the old dealerships. Dick believes the development of franchise businesses forced the independent business owner out. Pharmacies like Walgreens, Rite Aid, and CVS of today replaced the small business owner. The independent town hardware stores were also slowly driven out of business first by franchise stores and then “big box” businesses like Home Depot. While this was a gradual process in the town of Clarkston, the 80’s brought forth the greatest changes. Offices replaced retail in many buildings.

Dick stated that “Time waits for no one”. Dick, who has lived on Washington Street since 1945, says he continues to spend 10 hours a day at work.

(Dick Morgan passed away October 2005. He was 90 years old)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Anniversaries--and Core Values

This February, my parents will be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. So much has changed since 1951. They raised 5 kids, have 13 grand children and 5 great grandchildren.

My father turns 80 this year and he's still a techie. He's got 2 computers--a super fast desk top and an efficient lap top. He's on Facebook (but thinks Twitter is ridiculous) and regularly reads newspapers, blogs and sports columns online.

While he's an early adopter, mom is more traditional. She makes Dad type up her volunteer organization newsletters. She knows what data bases can deliver in terms of customized letters and mailing labels, but she pretends not to know how to "turn the computer on."

In 1951, when my parents got married, they had no idea or expectation that their children and grandchildren would be speaking multiple foreign languages, travel all over the world on a regular basis to do business. That 7 of the 13 grandchildren are working in careers that didn't exist in 1951.

What got me thinking about this was the fact that Royal Oak Chamber and Ferndale Chambers are celebrating 75 years in 2011 . . . . 75 years! Do the math--it means they were founded in 1936.

Think about it. All of the changes in the world, the business world--technology, communication, marketing, radio, TV, Internet. Think about how different Detroit is--How different Michigan is.

Did the charter members of these Chambers dream about what their chambers would look like, or be in 75 years? Where would you begin to even dream? The context of what the world is like and how businesses interact in it--is so different from 1936.

Perhaps that's why we build our foundation with core values. Values that do not change even when technology or the world changes.

The Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce is member focused. We intentionally include new members and rotate leadership opportunities. We believe in positive promotion of our member businesses--not high pressure sales and spiteful competition.

Lifelong learning is important and it requires continual investment in listening, learning and evaluating what works. This isn't 1936 . . . or 1951.

How you grow your business is different than what you might have done in 1970. The tools available are certainly different. And the value of your personal brand--your honesty, integrity and value offerings have never carried so much weight.

A glitzy marketing campaign no longer covers up a lackluster product.
Miserable customer service isn't a secret for long and is a business killer.
The command performance expectation of, "you should do business with me because I'm here." just doesn't cut it anymore. (if it ever did)

When I think about our Chamber 75 years from now, I believe the core values will be the same. What we look like, how we do business--flying cars--that remains to be seen.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A word from one of our Ambassadors

Town Planner Community Calendar
Jay/Deb Gordinier
11632 Old Oaks Dr
Davisburg , MI 48350-3447

Monday, February 7, 2011

On the hunt for great values?

Did you know that Chamber member businesses that host BOBs (Business Over Breakfasts) often have special offers/values available while you're at the event?

I'm just saying, that if you're looking for the perfect Valentine's gift, you may want to check out the February BOB at Belle Visage Spa.

February 10, 2011

7:45-9:00 a.m.

Belle Visage

6507 Town Center Dr.

Clarkston, MI 43846