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Dennis as Woolworth Store Manager in Milwaukee Wisconsin

This photo is made in store 956 located on 35th and North Avenue

October 10, 1973

1973-00-woolworth-crew -- 1973_10_00_dennis_portrait_as_wooworth_manager_store_0956_02.jpg
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Dennis, Woolworth Store Manger in Milwaukee Wisconsin

Woolworth Store 956 and Store 948.

This was the first store I managed and then the second

I started with Woolworth in 1967, after college, on the management trainee program.   The first position was as management trainee in Escanaba Michigan at $75 weekly.  Next, I was promoted to Assistant Manager in Rhinelander Wisconsin in 1968.  I worked in Rice Lake Wisconsin for 4 months in late 1968.  I then took 3 weeks lunch counter training in Eau Claire Wisconsin. Next, I was moved to the south side of Milwaukee and promoted to Advanced Assistant in 1969.  Finally, I was promoted to full Manager in 1970 after three months as Advance Assistant. Promoted again to store 948 in 1975

I was manager in two Milwaukee Stores before I resigned Woolworths in 1979, after about twelve years with the company.  Milwaukee Woolworth stores were always heavily overstocked.  My successes were reducing stock inventory to below "normal" (assigned by regional staff management) in both stores and cleaning them up to be physically appealing.  My 2 stores were the only ones in the Milwaukee district of 15 stores with "normal" inventories. These inventory controls required mark downs so I was not known for increasing profits

My major merchandising success was developing Afro-American products.  I created displays that were adopted by the company nationally.  A standard display for all stores in other words.  I didn't get any credit for it, my district manager presented it as his to the Regional Office

  The company was changing.  Inflation of 103% in the 1970's (prices doubled in ten years) made my rather stagnant salary unsatisfactory. Most small store managers were in the same position. I started with Woolworth when being a Store Manager was a well paid executive position.  Managers made decisions about their advertising, bookkeeping, merchandising and staffing. 

By the time I resigned, Woolworth wanted managers they could trust with keys and the combination to the safe. They wanted glorified stock boys to handle merchandise freight and put it on display (physical labor).  New managers were not paid executives. Advertising budgets were controlled by the Regional Office.  Store merchandising displays were standard, the same in all stores, again controlled by the Region.  Senior management demanded that staffing was all at minimum wage and each store's office was moved out to one district office

It was time to move on

manager, staff, 948, Woolworth, store, Milwaukee, 956, avenue, Dennis, North, career Digitized by Dennis, May 2015