Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

February 7, 2005

True Entrepreneurship in action

Filed under: — Different River @ 7:39 pm

Here’s an inspiring story of someone with enough entrepreneurship and just enough naïveté (i.e., not too much cynicism) to rise to a completely unexpected challenge. If I were running a business, I’d want someone with this level of initiative and desire-to-take-responsibility working for me.

From the Seattle Times:

Dawna Lentz, the manager who ran a Quiznos Sub shop on a shoestring after the owners went absent, won’t lose her job as she’d feared.

On the contrary, Quiznos is flying the 25-year-old to its Denver headquarters to meet company President Steve Shaffer and to go through training to become a certified manager.

“She’s shown loyalty to Quiznos like no other employee has,” corporate spokeswoman Stacie Lange said yesterday. “Her ability to keep that store afloat through a very difficult time needs to be commended.”

Lentz and her crew of three had kept the franchise afloat since November, when the bank account ran dry and one of the principal owners stopped showing up. The other partner, an absentee owner, would check in occasionally but hadn’t been seen for weeks, Lentz said.

Like the abandoned kid in “Home Alone,” Lentz learned how to run the business by necessity and ingenuity. With paychecks bouncing and vendors refusing to deliver on credit, she used cash from the till to buy cold cuts and bread each morning.

She paid herself and her crew in cash, too, tallying each day’s wages on the back of their worthless paychecks, deducting the amount that would go for payroll taxes. There wasn’t enough cash at the end of every day to pay all the wages owed, however, and Lentz’s back wages had reached $900.

Lentz worried that she’d lose her job over the mess. Instead, Quiznos brought in corporate staff to help her out, replenished the food supply and made sure that she and the other employees’ wages were up to date.

After reading about her determination, other employers expressed interest in having Lentz work for them.

“Ms. Lentz did a remarkable job of overcoming adversity through persistence and creativity,” Jim Cravens, a division vice president for Wendy’s, wrote in an e-mail. “We would love to have Dawna on our team.”

Lentz, who is trying to earn enough to pay for tuition to nursing school, said she is overwhelmed by the public response, ….

“I didn’t expect people to come to me at the restaurant and offer me jobs,” she said.

She would have if she knew how hard it is for companies to find good employees.

2 Responses to “True Entrepreneurship in action”

  1. Jason Says:

    Too bad corporate america ended up giving her the shaft as soon as the press walked away…


    Enjoy living in your right wing America…

  2. Different River Says:

    What exactly did “corporate america” do here?

    And what is “right wing” about all this?

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