Sidney Doolittle: Our Co-Founder Passes Away
We mourn the passing of Sidney Doolittle, who passed away this week at the age of 83.
Sid was a seminal part of creating McMillanDoolittle. With the prior passing of Norm McMillan in 2015, McMillanDoolittle is now without its two founders, who began the company back in 1986. While we no longer have our founders, they cemented in the company both our culture and our positioning, which lives on now. Not a day goes by when we are not reminded of the principles in which they founded the company.
Sid was a merchant’s merchant. He held just about every conceivable buying position at Montgomery Ward until he left there while Vice President of the Catalog division. While there, he helped to shutter this institution, but it also laid the groundwork for his work and knowledge into direct to consumer retail. After 28 years at Montgomery Ward, he did something remarkable, going on to be a founder of The Warehouse Club, one of the early pioneers in the club industry now dominated by Costco, Sam’s and BJ’s. Great stories from Sid include his meetings with Sol Price, founder of Price Club and of Sam Walton studiously taking notes inside of The Warehouse Club.
Sid took his 30 plus years of retail knowledge and founded McMillanDoolittle with Norm in July of 1986. If Norm was our visionary thinker, Sid was the doer, able to take strategy and successfully translate in the real world of business. He created the principles of high productivity retailing that he learned in the Club business and helped refine Staples strategy to focus on efficiency. Sid was a world traveler and did pioneering work in helping shape the future of retail in countries like Thailand.
My favorite (and often told) story about Sid is a personal one. Gracing the entry of McMillanDoolittle is a beautiful antique cash register. We walked in one day to see the cash register gone. It was a personal part of Norm McMillan’s collection and he took the register with him when he retired. No problem but it was a little disconcerting to see that prominent symbol of our company gone. The very next day, we walk into work and a new cash register had taken its place. A gift from Sid and one that proudly graces our entry today!