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James (Jimmie) Gipson

BY CSA STAFF

Entrepreneurialism is in the DNA of Jimmie Gipson and of the company he runs. The 66-year-old chairman and CEO of supermarket-operator Houchens Industries—which says it is the largest 100% employee-owned company in the United States—is quick to say that his entire organization is entrepreneurial in nature, and always has been.

“Houchens Industries is a company composed of entrepreneurs,” Gipson said. Founded as BG Wholesale in 1918 by a teenage entrepreneur named Ervin Houchens, the company today is a diversified conglomerate of store brands, including Food Giant, IGA, Piggly Wiggly and, of course, Houchens.

“As companies continue to fold into Houchens Industries, the people, their spirit and entrepreneurial drive are what help set us apart from a typical single-interest organization,” Gipson noted.

When asked what or who has most influenced his personal and professional philosophies, he said, “When you spend your days surrounded by these types [entrepreneurs] of people, it is difficult to determine any single personality or trait that had an influence greater than or less than another. It is the collection of all of those qualities that have made the difference.”

Founder Ervin Houchens retired from the company in September 1983, at the age of 85, and handed the reins to nephew Ruel, already a 40-year Houchens veteran. In 1993, Jimmie Gipson, a 30-year employee, succeeded Ruel Houchens, marking the first time in the company’s history that someone outside the family held the top leadership position. Gipson was instrumental in charting a course of diversification, facilitating the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) that made the Houchens employees stockholders in the company, and leading the way in key acquisitions and rollouts.

Of his many accomplishments, Gipson is perhaps most proud of the role he has played in strengthening his college alma mater, Western Kentucky University (WKU) in his hometown of Bowling Green. This year, Houchens Industries made a $5 million gift to WKU to enhance an expansion and renovation project for the university’s football stadium.

“Very early on, Western Kentucky University was a part of my life experience,” said Gipson of the significant contribution. “Growing up in the area, and as a graduate of WKU, I became aware of the value that a university can have on its community, and how important it was for the community to reciprocate.

“Strengthening the university through whatever support Houchens Industries can offer as a corporate citizen leads to a stronger geographic region both economically and socially,” he added, “and should ultimately lead to a stronger pool of talent for everyone to pull from.”

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A.Snider says:
Mar-08-2013 01:15 am

Does your company still
Does your company still looking for entrepreneurs? I’d like to venture and discover new things through my knowledge also and planning to take postgraduate studies in Malaysia if my parents will allow me.

A.Snider says:
Mar-08-2013 01:15 am

Does your company still looking for entrepreneurs? I’d like to venture and discover new things through my knowledge also and planning to take postgraduate studies in Malaysia if my parents will allow me.

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CompUSA may get a new look

BY CSA STAFF

ADDISON, Tx. After opening a new format store last month, CompUSA may be changing the format of its other stores, depending on customer demand and product interest.

According to reports, the elements found in the prototype store, located in Texas, will be incorporated into other CompUSA locations across the United States.

The nearly 7,700 square-ft. relocation site includes an Apple shop featuring Mac computers, iPods and Apple accessories, and a full-length LCD TV wall.

Additional expansions include extended gaming, which includes an entire wall devoted to the Nintendo Wii, PlayStation3 and Xbox 360 gaming platforms, plus a PC gaming setup to test equipment and play new titles.

While businesses can get their share of support with a specialized services section, all consumers can visit the store’s redesigned IT support area.

“This new store aligns CompUSA’s vision to better serve its three core customers, the technology enthusiast, educated professional and small and medium businesses,” said Gabriela Villalobos, the retailer’s sales and operations evp.

CompUSA announced in April that it would narrow its focus to three core customer groups rather than try to serve a mass audience.

The move was part of a comprehensive restructuring, initiated last February, that included an overhaul of senior management and the closure of half its store base as the privately held chain looked to improve sales and profitability.

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Walgreens withdraws from CVS provider plans

BY CSA STAFF

DEERFIELD, Ill. After many months of talks over low and below-market payment rates by CVS Caremark for four prescription plans, Walgreens has withdrawn as a pharmacy provider from the plans.

Patients affected include members of prescription benefit plans managed by CVS Caremark for ArcelorMittal, Johnson Controls, Progressive Casualty Insurance and Wisconsin Education Association Trust.

Most of the affected members live in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Trent Taylor, president of Walgreens Health Services, the managed care division of Walgreens, released the following statement:

“This is not where we wanted negotiations to lead,” he said. “We’re sorry that our pharmacy patients and CVS Caremark’s clients are caught in the middle, and we’ll do all we can to ensure a smooth transition for our patients to another pharmacy. Meanwhile, we’ll continue to work on resolving this issue with CVS Caremark.

“Leaving a benefits plan is an extraordinary step for us, but it demonstrates how extraordinarily low our payments were from CVS Caremark. We can’t continue accepting reimbursement rates that are drastically below market, while offering patients needed special services such as 24-hour pharmacy access and drive-thru pharmacies.”

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