Retailing: The Personal Touch

From their employees' viewpoint, the bosses of expanding corporate enterprises often disappear into the paperwork to become remote and impersonal figures of authority rather than flesh-and-blood leaders. Over the past dozen years, John M. Eckerd, 56, has created a Florida drugstore chain with $100 million a year in sales by taking the opposite approach. Eckerd gives zealous attention to the personal touch. "Employees make or break a business," he says. "They should be treated as individuals and not just parts of a wheel."

Better Feedback. Jack Eckerd, who opened his 113th store last week in Tampa, still likes to call...

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