Grocer guru speaks to PCHS students

Published 8:56 am Wednesday, February 22, 2012

When Gregory B. Calhoun was a bag boy in a grocery store, he dared to dream big.

He dreamed first of being a stock clerk, then a cashier and head cashier. He dreamed of being an assistant manager, a manager and then the biggest dream of all – a storeowner.

But Calhoun didn’t just dream. He worked longer and harder than those around him. His work ethic was so outstanding that it enabled him to climb the ladder of success.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Calhoun worked his way through the ranks of the supermarket. He went from bag boy to store owner in 1984 when he purchased his first store in Montgomery. He is now the CEO of Calhoun Enterprises and owns four supermarkets in Alabama with more than 350 employees.

Calhoun was the guest speaker at the Business and Finance Academy at Pike County High School on Tuesday.

He challenged the academy students to dream – to see their future in front of them.

“Dare to dream,” Calhoun said. “Imagine what you can be. Your future is purchased today. The present determines your future.”

Calhoun cautioned the students that the decisions they make today determine their future.

“You must think before you act,” he said. “Think of the consequences of your actions because there are always consequences.”

And there are always obstacles.

Calhoun said the biggest obstacle he faced was financing.

“In the grocery business you make one cent on every dollar,” he said. “But my father owned a business and he taught me to save. I was going to find a way. I was not going to let anything stop me.

“Being successful means the willingness to work harder and longer than your competitors. It means doing more and doing it better.”

Calhoun gave an example of a conversation he had with his friend the late Michael Jackson. “Michael would wake up in the early morning hours with an idea,” Calhoun said. “Right then, he would call his management team with the idea. He said that when God puts an idea in your mind, you wake up. And, if he didn’t do something with it right then, God might give the idea to Prince.”

Calhoun has not let any of his ideas grow stagnant. He put his ideas into motion and with the confidence that they will be successful.

“Success is not a sprint,” he said. “Success is a journey. Along the way you need to pray, be humble and respectful. Your future is earned by your presence today. And always stay focused. Money does not drive me today. What is most important to me is a good family, health and the ability to pay the bills. “If I should lose it all today. I would have still had a good run and I would just start over again.”