I was sad to learn about the passing of Earle Angstadt. He made a
major impact on my life and career. He was president of Abercrombie &
Fitch Co. (then known as the World’s Greatest Sporting Goods Store).
Mr. Angstadt was larger than life. He looked like the president of
A&F, he acted like the president of A&F and he was respected as the
president of A&F.
I was a young salesman in the A&F Fishing Tackle Department. It was
one of the key departments along with camping, sporting arms, golf
and tennis. In 1968 Mr. Angstadt took a chance and approved my
promotion to buyer/manager for the tackle department for all stores
and the A&F catalog. I was way too young and inexperienced. Yet Mr.
Angstadt gave me his confidence. He asked me to do my best, learn
fast and dedicate myself to the A&F principles that stated “Imagine a
store that still treats you this way.”
When Mr. Angstadt (we never called him Earle) walked around the
store, all of us felt his presence. We felt he was representing our
customers. When he greeted customers in any department, you could
feel and see how well they reacted to him. Mr. Angstadt was in my
department looking around one day and a customer went up to him and
said, “You must be the president of A&F.” The customer commented on
his positive shopping experiences at A&F.
Mr. Angstadt asked all of us who worked at A&F for excellence, great
products and, most importantly, to give service that the customer
will never forget. He was so right. I was lucky to learn from him how
to use customer service as a marketing tool. He was a great role
model for me. I will miss him.