At no time has that been made more clear to me than during my career at UnleashWD and during this We Supply America pilgrimage. So I set out to tell the stories of independent distributors and I learned so much about you and how you embody the American spirit and the American dream.
Thousands of independent distributors are family-owned, many second and third generation. This means during the hard times, there was no boardroom-enabled golden parachute or bail out no matter what happened. Your success was truly in your hands. You’ve dug in, been incredibly resourceful and responsive. Challenges ranged from economic recessions to war to business disruptions caused by technology advancements to this last year of Covid-19.
I’ve had a chance to meet with CEOs, mid-level managers, warehouse staff, and people in just about every position in a distributorship. The industries these companies represent have also run the gamut from dental supply to pipe supply to foodservice equipment. These disparate industries share a common drive to serve their customers unrelentingly. When a government-mandated shutdown occurred because of COVID resulting in workers being sent home, you enabled curbside delivery. No matter what is thrown at you, distributors keep supplying America. And that’s such an American thing to do. We keep going, no matter what. We keep trying. We keep innovating.
From the first ships docking in the colonies, bringing goods from far away to the high-tech showrooms all over the country showing what is possible to potential clients, our industry is long and proud. Your uniquely American characteristics have shown through.
I’ll tell you about those American characteristics I’ve seen recently (the freedom our country provides unleashes these American values):
- Family: The importance of family at all levels of these businesses (still making time for date nights with spouses, homeschooling, soccer and baseball coaching, reading to kids at night, savings for college, caring for aging parents, and so much more).
- Connections and Caring: The love amongst those I have met and the deep concern for each others well being. It’s not “us against you” in any way. On the contrary, those I have met are united in common causes, a clear North Star mission, and connected by shared values.
- Love of Country: Understanding that those who have come before us built this country on a set of ideas and ideals. Visions of a peace where we each, through self-reliance and hard work, have unlimited opportunity and inner peace that allows us all to dream and strive every day to fulfill our potential.
- Grit and Hard Work: Life is not easy—for anyone. Drivers arriving at 3:00 AM, a warehouse manager pulling a 36-hour shift the day of our filming, management driving between branches at all hours of the day, and solving the day-to-day challenges are just a few examples. The business of distribution is a microcosm of life. And neither life nor distribution is easy. But it is rewarding on many fronts for those willing to work hard and take honorable risks as our founding fathers did.
- Growth: In the end, our country is a platform for growth. Freedom. Capitalism and the Constitutional Republic that is the USA is a platform that not only allows but encourages each of us to grow into our potential. To live life fully and to enjoy what I call the “healthy struggle” of life. And distribution … it is a local platform built on the foundation of our founding that allows for individual and community growth. My goodness … let freedom ring!
Join me in the celebration of the premiere of our docuseries on July 8. Sign up for reminders and updates here.
I hope everyone has a happy and safe Fourth of July!