Commemorative coffee-table history books: Why talk about the past when you’re looking to the future?
In 1930, as Americans were feeling the grip of economic depression, a candy manufacturer named W.E. (Bill) Brock had this to say: “There are plenty of people to do the possible; you can hire them for a small sum of money. The prizes are for those who perform the impossible.” Just three years later, as the recovery dragged along and businesses continued to fail, Brock’s first outside audit revealed a huge loss of revenues. The company was on the brink of financial ruin. In March of that same year, massive bank withdrawals across the nation prompted President Roosevelt to declare a Bank Holiday. Banks closed all over America. All banks in Chattanooga closed. The Brock Candy Company not only lacked operating capital, it had no way to issue checks to its employees.
But Bill Brock refused to close his doors. While 878 candy companies across the nation went bankrupt, he negotiated long-term deals with his suppliers to continue shipping him sugar and corn syrup. He challenged his sales force to double their efforts. And he found another way to pay employees. Every day Brock representatives would collect accumulated cash from its customers, mostly local dime stores, and pay employees from sacks of nickels, dimes and quarters. Employees had to be satisfied with less but were enormously grateful for work and hard cash.
Crisis often helps to define a company’s character, just as it does for any organization, school, family or individual. Economic depression, world wars, natural disasters, energy shortages… all serve as extraordinary backdrops for stories so compelling they sometimes verge on mythical.
At the Storyline Group, we’re helping companies research, discover and share their legacies through commemorative coffee-table books, video histories, history walls, e-books and enhanced e-books — all designed to help our clients build brands, inform communities, educate target audiences, and inspire future generations.