It all started with a statue...
In many homes, objects often reflect the values of the family that lives there. Lovers of sport and the outdoors display images and memorabilia, parents proudly hang children’s art on the wall or fridge, and families that value the pleasure of shared meals frequently gather around a table.
At Applegate, we have fun displaying physical manifestations of our values too. Our conference rooms are one example. Mixed in with the more traditional “Marketing” and “Sales” rooms, are “The Lincoln Room” and “The Hot Dog Room”.
When I began working at Applegate, I understood why we might have a Hot Dog room, being the arbiters of the Cleaner Weiner and all, but Lincoln was perplexing. As the man who championed a truer form of equal rights and united the country during a tumultuous time, he’s certainly worthy of admiration, but still – what does he have to do with a meat company?
As time went on, I found myself saying and hearing our three principles – Taste, Truth and Trust – more and more. And I remembered Lincoln’s nickname – Honest Abe. I realized I didn’t know exactly how he got that moniker – other than being an upstanding guy in general – so did some digging and asked around.
As it turns out, Lincoln started out in the retail business too. As a young man, he worked in a general store selling everything from tea and sugar, to (I like to imagine) meat. One evening, as he tallied the register, he noticed he had given the incorrect change. Rather than keep the extra, he dug into the receipts to determine who had been shorted and walked for miles to return the change – just a few cents. This happened again and again - he was also known to chase people down if he hadn’t filled their bags of tea properly.
When his wife gave him a bust-sized statue of Lincoln as a gift one year, our founder Stephen McDonnell knew it needed to be displayed in the office. Abe’s dogged determination to make things right for his customers and dedication to the truth made him an ideal fit for Applegate’s iconography. When I see our customer service team digging through Facebook comments to make sure they’ve answered each one, or meticulously returning every phone call, I sometimes imagine them doing it all in a top hat and beard.