Time Clock: Comeback at National

When Millionaire Printer John F. Cuneo bought control of Chicago's ailing National Tea Co. in 1945, he grumbled that he was taking on "the worst chain-store property in the country." From Harley V. (for Vincent) McNamara, who had talked him into the deal, came a soothing answer: "That's what's so good about it—it can't get any worse." As National's new president. Optimist McNamara soon proved that it could get a lot better.

During his first full year at National Tea (which operates under the name National Food Stores), McNamara boosted sales from $107 million to $158 million, profits from $913,000 to $2,900,000....

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