Chapter 5: Supporters are neighbors of the first store
At the age of 22 years and 2 months old, I set up on my own at the youngest age.
A small store, my first store, started with my wife.
Second year since I had started working for CoCo ICHIBANYA, there was a big turning point for ICHIBANYA. Now it has stores nationwide and worldwide, but at that time, there were restaurants only in Aichi and Gifu. Around this time, stores in Mie and Kyoto were about to be started. Many direct-managed stores were being sold, and employees set up on their own as owners.
At that time, the last place left was Hongo store, which was small and had low sales. Nobody wanted to manage that.
I chose this unwanted store because not only I wanted to take a new challenge, but also I had had difficult time building good relationship with staff members in a large store. Therefore, I had a thought of working and making an honest effort with my wife, just two of us at a small store.
I loaned capital money 8million yen from a bank, and set up for my own when I was 22 years and 2 months old. It has been about 30 years, but I still hold the company record of being an owner at the youngest age.
I started Hongo store with my wife. Literally just two of us, worked day and night. Since the store was so small, the sales was so little and there were days with no sales at all…
The situation was severe, but I would go to a nearby coffee shop every day. On the day I work from 10am, I would leave my house at 9 and go to this coffee shop. Many neighbors gathered around at this shop. The people I met at this coffee shop became my supporters. They might have thought of us, a young couple, a little flaky. A business owner picked our shop to use when many business partners and suppliers gather. Thanks to those people, the sales went up and my store became lively.
As sales went up, it became busy, and so I hired a high school student from neighbor as a part-timer. He kept working for 3 years during his whole high school time. Also a woman whom my wife and I always saw at the coffee shop started working as a part-timer. My wife had been close to her as “coffee-buddy,” so it was easy to build good relationship with staff members. I learned about hiring workers, and I was able to learn to educate others little by little.
As I have come to think about it, the first store was really supported by many neighbors.
When I was at Hongo store, my child often visited there, and I remember being sad to see him leaving to go home. I was so busy that I did not have enough time for him, and he must have been lonely.
The sales doubled. We hired more workers by cutting down our own salaries. As sales went up, I had another dream to have the second store.
Chapter 6: Supporters are benefactor and staff members of the second store
IS is a company progressed with a lot of supports.
Want to be the one to support others now.
IS started with Hongo store, and currently (2016) managing 13 stores in Japan. Of course there have been some tough times.
I could not start the second store as I hoped due to lack of capital money, but then again a person to support me showed up. I was able to open new stores, gained more workers and reached the size of current scope while paying back the money I loaned for no interest.
Many people supported me and helped me…
Co part-time workers, whom I met at busy izakaya.
Mr. Munetsugu and other CoCo ICHIBANYA board members.
Bosses who have educated me.
Neighbors of the first store.
All the supporting staff members.
I look back now and there are so many things I have not done enough.
One of them is to appreciate.
I should have appreciated more for the supports.
This thought is leading to the policy of IS now.
We want to be a company to support others as much as I was supported.
As an owner, as an executive of the company, and as a man.
IS Co., Ltd. is a company that support you.
This is just a tiny part of my life story. Let’s talk more about it when we meet in person.
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