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Hardships Make us Resiliant

Wrapping my mind around the repercussions of the Metal Fabricators fiasco was hard. I felt betrayed, again — by my own father.

As I entered the job market again, I came across a full charge bookkeeping position at a local concrete company. When I applied for the job, the first question raised was, “Are you a Christian?” to which I replied, “Yes.” To work for a Christian employer was appealing to me. It gave me a sense of belonging and a place where I could express my faith, immature as it was, openly. I was hired.

After a few months, I discovered glaring contradictions in the way this man did business when measured against what I knew to be God’s truth. There was fudging on formulas for making concrete to save money, and a plan to forego making federal payroll tax deposits temporarily to save money. Bills went unpaid due to mismanagement, and the blame for the short-of-cash predicament always fell on someone else.

I wanted no part of this business anymore. In the meantime, I went to work for an honest “non-Christian” manufacturing company, which turned out to be the best job I had ever had.

Scott, however, beaten down and nearly fifty years old, felt he would have trouble finding a job. His Air Force career skills didn’t fit well in non-military settings. Our problem seemed insurmountable. We had four children to care for, the oldest a junior in college; the next starting college right away; and the other two in high school. Where was all the money going to come from? Scott made a decision to buy a small retail store in the nearby mall.

He worked at the store alone with no breaks from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, five days a week, Saturday 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and Sunday 12:00 noon to 5:00 pm. I would come to the store after I got off work some of the weekdays, and I worked every Saturday, and an occasional Sunday doing the books, waiting on customers, and anything else that cropped up. Scott did janitorial work three nights a week from 9:30 pm until 2:30 am just to make ends meet.

The first Christmas season, I took my vacation time of two weeks from my job to work in the store. We ran the store, just the two of us, during the extended hours at the mall. This was not only a grueling schedule, but my heart ached the entire time. This was our first Christmas spent being alienated from our family.

When mall management told us we had to move out of the mall because of the upcoming mall renovation, Scott was furious. He resolved to implement a plan for taking on the mall; a plan that would make it impossible for upper level managers to say no, or at the very least, be afraid of losing their jobs, if and when they said no.

The presentation of the plan came together hastily but with logic and purpose. It was to convince the mall to follow our plan in the midst of their own plans, but not to disclose the specifics of the plan. In a letter to the mall owners, Scott described in detail the negative impact to the bottom line for the mall in dollars and cents.

He then made this very bold promise: “I will build, at my own expense, a kiosk to be located within the common area of the mall, and I am willing to move this kiosk, at a moment’s notice, when it starts to interfere with construction.” They had nothing to lose, so they agreed.

The kiosk, built on our driveway until ready to put it together in the mall, had forty-eight wheels under the floor platform, and we moved it fourteen times in twenty-two months. We could actually close up, roll, open up, and start doing business within fifteen minutes! Ingenious plan — don’t you think?

Once construction was finished, we built our new store in the mall and business began growing — so much so that I resigned from my job and started working in the store full time. After being in the mall for fifteen years, we leased a space in the strip mall across the street so that we could close on Sundays.

Business boomed! We were in business for twenty years.


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