Father took me on great field trips to sites of industry; the cotton docks for the auctions, the dairies, the loading docks, farms and warehouses, retail stores, and law offices.

The father who taught me these things also taught me how to gather sales leads. He was not aggressive; he was service oriented. I often hear aggressive sales people say that about themselves but it usually sounds like rationalization. My father was the real deal.

The only thing he ever “taught” me was to listen. And though he took me to Church on Sundays He never discussed religion. His was a method of “teaching” by example.

After he and Mother sold their last store Father put together some wholesale dry goods lines, Ziegler, Almar, Wrangler and Stetson. Dixie Broom’s wholesale lines were an immediate  success; the life of The Broom Family began to change.

When I was eleven, a skittish mare and foal kicked a make shift gate in the corral and a piece of pipe  ripped Father’s foot off; the only thing holding his foot to his leg was the left ankle and the tendons associated with that part of his right foot.

We asked a surgeon by the name of Amspatcher to fly out from NYC  and  reattach his foot; everyone else wanted to amputate.; the surgery was an astonishing success. Father drug out from storage, one of the two matching silver tipped canes that he and Mother had bought at The Chicago Worlds Fair decades before. It would be with him for the rest of his life.

I accompanied  Father during that first summer back on the road,  carrying his sample bags and observing his method of ”gathering sales”. At lunch one day in a hotel coffee shop I asked Father how he learned to be a salesman. “I’m not a salesman” he snapped. He never explained that remark.

Father knew everything about the people we visited and what was going on in the cities and towns in which they lived. I never heard him “close”, but I knew and the client knew that when Dixie Broom reached for the order pad the sale had already taken place. Later, I would use that same approach in every store I put together.

Lee Broom



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