Greg Wolf, owner of Family Food Store in Sawyer, shared his business success story with new members of the Pratt Community College Phi Theta Kappa honor society and Kappa Beta Delta business fraternity at their initiation.
The journey to a new business doesn't always go the way intended but for Greg Wolf and his family at the Family Food Store in Sawyer, that journey was guided with faith.
Wolf was the guest speaker at the Phi Theta Kappa and Kappa Beta Delta induction at Pratt Community College. He shared that journey with the new inductees.
Wolf was a northwest Kansas farm boy and learned early about working together as a family. When he was considering a business venture five years ago, his family decided they wanted a business where they could work together with the entire family.
As a foundation for the business, Wolf said he believes in Psalms 127:1 Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
He put his faith in God as he started this road to a new business. As they started to put the business together, he trusted the Psalm and knew that their efforts to start a new business would also not be in vain.
As the business began to take shape, they were able to fulfill the goal of working side-by-side with family members. That inspired them to call their business the Family Food Store, a place where customers could get wholesome food in a good environment.
They knew they wanted to have a business that involved food so they considered their options. They considered what foods they needed in their inventory and just how they were going to operate a business in a town with a population of 127.
Again, he looked to the scriptures for inspiration and knew that Jesus legitimized feeding people in his ministry when he fed the 4,000 and the 5,000.
Another element in his journey was going after his dream. He used his work background when he worked at Kennedy and Coe accounting firm and at a bank to set up the fundamentals of a business plan that could work in a small town.
"We never know where life is going to lead," Wolf said.
When he worked in those business firms, he didn't know how they would come into play as he started a new business. Managing cash flow, debt, customer service, inventory and food safety were all elements that came together.
They also remembered to enjoy the process as they worked hard to get everything to come together.
"We put energy and fun into the fundamentals," Wolf said.
Wolf quickly learned running a business required flexibility. They are very sensitive to customer's feed back and how they can improve their customer service.
They also had flexibility when it came to their food products. As the customer favorites became clear, they gave up on some items and focused on the more popular items for a list of five. Their bakery items account for about one third of the business while deli items account for another third.
Wolf said he had gotten to this point in his journey faster than he had anticipated. He encouraged the students to enjoy their journey and the directions they take.
He encouraged them to use the life lessons they learned because they have a lifetime of learning ahead of them and no one knows how those lessons could end up benefiting them in life.
The best things in life are the ones built with other people because there is value in working with other people, Wolf said.
Wolf told the students it was his desire that their labor would lead to a fulfilled life in the midst of their community and hoped they would want the blessings of the Lord.