In 1963, when I first visited California for a summer, I used to shop at a Raley's store in South Lake Tahoe. Fast forward a quarter century and I meet an older man at a fancy gathering on San Francisco's Nob Hill, where I meet Tom Raley. Think he used to entertain R. Reagan on his yacht on the river to Sacramento. With me it was hello and we each moved on.
But my friend told me the story. He was the founder of Raley's chain of stores, and he'd made a lot of his top executives wealthy men. The story goes that as a lad on the farm in Tennessee, his dad gave him a mule, as that was all he had to give him. Tom worked his way across country with the mule. Tried to get a job in a Safeway store, but was turned down. Angry, he threatened to own the place some day.
Raley's is a sizeable chain of supermarkets now, that competes with Safeway. If I recall the story right, he bought the offending Safeway and turned it into a Raley's.
Always enjoyed that story.
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