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Larry Wahlstrom

I just spent some time going thru old pictures, people magazines and other memorabilia. With the passing of time most of the strategies, goals and P&L statements have faded away and what remains are the wonderful people and the good times we had together.

We had a very special company with leaders and a culture that was second to none in caring about people. The result was a business where the customer could “COUNT ON PEOPLE WHO CARE”.

Many of the memories were made at parties; I mean meetings, which we had to discuss “business”. Looking at the pictures of these meetings bring back so many memories. Just the mention of Callaway Gardens, Navy Pier, Pheasant Run, Lake Geneva, Nashville (ordering drinks by color),La Jolla or Las Vegas will bring a smile to many people’s faces. Even the meeting slogans were great. I still have a pair of sunglasses with “The future is so bright” on the frames. Can any of us hear Tina Turner sing “Simply the Best” without thinking about the videos that started and ended the meetings? How about all the awards recognizing the great work people had done culminating with the Presidents Award of Excellence.

There were so many great meetings but I will comment on a few that also included spouses.

The first one Mary Gail and I attended was at the Nevele Resort in Upstate New York in March 1978. Nevele is eleven spelled backwards and represented the original number of investors in the property. This was our first glimpse of how truly rich Easterners would vacation, although, the Osco group was the only one there in March.

In 1991, Michigan, Indiana, Arkansas and portions of Illinois and Iowa became part of the Eastern Region. We had a party in Boston with all the Store Directors and Spouses to make everyone feel like one team. We reserved the Museum of Science for dinner, Quincy Market for lunch and all went on a whale watch together. The final “Caribbean theme” night with Line and Limbo dances was awesome!!

In June 1997 we had a retirement party for Bob and Diana Cook in Portsmouth, NH. An evening river cruise and a lobster bake on the Ocean were good times.

When the East had a good year the East staff, D.M’s and spouses would head to Lake Winnipesaukee and the Inn at Smith Cove for our annual “planning” meetings. We always seemed to be more creative when sitting on the boat or the gazebo overlooking the water.

Some other memories that come to mind:

The weekly broadcasts that were done by Dave Gillis, Jim Willyard, Bill Bates, John Terry, Dennis Palmer, me and many others. Traci Semenek and Gerry Pearsall deserve a special award for putting up with us. I still have the “finger pointer” that was used to highlight the key points.

With all the golf pictures there are, you would think we actually knew how to golf!!

We had a great group of people!!!

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