Thursday, November 4, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday: Selling success

My grandfather was a salesman - and a good one, at that. He sold mens clothing most his life. For decades he travelled across the South, writing home and coming home as often as he could. In 1955 and 1956 he was selling the Storrs-Schaefer line. His commission earnings of $5,084.38 compares to $90,700 today. I don't know if this was his commission for the year or season - in which case 1955 was a VERY good year.

The accompanying  letter, written January 16, 1956, on letterhead from Storrs-Schaefer Incorporated of Cincinnati, reads
Mr. Bob Sawyer,

Dear Bob:

It is a pleasure to enclose a might good looking sales report showing commission due you of $5,084.38. The necessary deductions are listed on the stub of the check and we are happy to enclose check for $3,422.79, which we know you will put to good use. Our congratulations.
We are receiving some might gratifying comments on the new line and know you are making plans for one of the best Spring seasons you have had. Lots of luck and with kind regards, we are.

                                                            Sincerely yours,

                                                            STORRS-SCHAEFFER, INC.
                                                            A. M. Storrs
Later he was part-owner of a men's clothing store in Morristown, TN. He was a very handsome man, but frequently wore clothes kindly described as garish (at least to my adolescent eyes) when he worked. He maintained it was a tried and true sales strategy. He wore the wildest clothes in the store which made his more conservative customers comfortable buying flashier clothes than they might ordinarily have chosen.

Visiting him at work was one of the highlights of going down to Tennessee. We would walk the few blocks down to the store to be greeted and fussed over no end. He would take us next door to the drug store for lunch where we would sit at the soda fountain. We would nibble our sandwich (I remember the egg salad) and sip our soda while he bragged on us.  Our feet would swing from the stools. When we were done he would lift us down, head back to work and we would walk up the hill to the house.


  1. What precious memories. Bring back a few for me as well, forgotten, but not now! Thanks!

  2. Susan, I'm impressed with his selling techniques and am glad he did so well. But he must have paid the price by being away from home so much. What a nice memory you have with your grandfather, you described it so well. I’m glad somebody thought to save that letter, I love seeing these pieces of life. Also congratulations on the 99th COG article. It was an excellent piece and I can see why you were chosen. Claps to you.


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