Dave McCaulou implements strategic retail foundations that keep him bustling.
What college did you attend?
University of California Berkeley
What was your major?
Business, if I went back to school today I would major in business again.
We learned after college you were a salesman in retail, is that how you got started with your department stores?
Yes. Within a couple of years after my first job, I started the beginning of McCaulou’s Stores. $5,000 cash, a lease on a 1300 sq. ft. space in Concord, CA, an outside loan from a vendor for another $5,000 and I was on my way. McCaulou’s stores range in size today, from 15,000 sq., ft to 45,000 sq. ft.
How many stores do you currently have open?
20 stores are currently in business. Our most recent store opening (#42) now of course is in the wonderful Lincoln Center here in Stockton.
Tell us a little more about you.
The first actual paycheck I ever received was from F.W. Woolworth company, “Woolworth’s” Stores. I was 12 years old. To actually receive a real paycheck once a week was a big deal. When I was growing up, minimum wage was probably 25 cents per hour. More than that, I wanted to spend my Saturdays absorbing the energy of the people. I would sweep the front walk, wash the doors, and check in the shipments. I loved visiting that Woolworth’s store every day after school. On top of all that, it did not take long for me to be the owner of a fancy Schwinn bicycle with white sidewall tires. I had my own bike and loved my job. Woolworth’s pretty much took me through high school. From high school I moved on to U.C. Berkeley.
From what you’ve told us, it seems like retail and department stores are all you’ve known. What’s the formula?
My formula is pretty simple, convenient, close to home, great service and the right merchandise. See it, touch it, try it on, love it, want it now, carry it out and wear it today or tonight.
WORK WORK WORK. So where do you play?
Lake Tahoe is a favorite of mine. I have a restored Chris-Craft vintage boat — I don’t like boats much, but it’s nice to have.
You’re a man on the move. How do you keep your energy so high?
I start most mornings off with a four-mile run.
What trend or fad do you hope makes a come-back?
All of them, an encore of everything would be great!
If your entire life was a “movie”…
… I wouldn’t attend.
What is something that fascinates you?
The fact that 90% of people who enter a store have a tendency to go to their right.
Is there anything that someone wouldn’t guess about you?
I love colorful socks.
What advice would you give a young entrepreneur who wants to open their own business?
Go work for a successful entrepreneur, pay attention and learn from every detail. And be prepared to work very long hours.