Meet Tom Ripley, the Chairman and CEO of Lids, the popular retail chain of stores primarily known as the #1 seller of hats. With nearly 1,200 stores located across North America, the chain brings in just under $700 million in revenue.
KFI's Jane Wells spoke with Ripley and asked him about his time as CEO of Lids - a whopping 90 days after his company acquired Lids earlier this year.
"We acquired Fans, a small chain in 2018, and later that year, Lids came up for sale ... we put in an offer, went back and forth for the better part of seven months, and we were lucky enough to win and purchased it, and close on February 2nd this year," Ripley says.
It was the largest acquisition of Ripley's career.
For many kids growing up, Lids was the first stop any time you visited the mall. However, as people turned to purchasing things online, mall traffic declined. However, Ripley sees a bright future for malls.
"I think what happens to malls in the future, is they're be where consumers can browse, look at new fashions, upcoming trends. It's still a very difficult thing to do online," Ripley points out. "It's still a very tangible product. No matter how many pictures I take, you'll never get a feel for the thread, how it's raised off. And then there's the fitted aspect."
Ripley also said he thinks Lids has a unique opportunity to reach out to certain portions of the marketplace.
"Things like, law enforcement day - if you come in in uniform, you get a discount. A Fireman day. An armed services day, something very near and dear to my heart," Ripley said.
Ripley explains that his background as a Marine helped him learn a key lesson that communication is key.
"You have to get out in front of it, you be very honest. You treat people with respect and you tell them exactly what's going to happen, when it's going to happen," Ripley says. "You try to be as clear and forthright with them as you can. And that really takes a lot of the mystique away, a lot of the the concern, the anxiety. At least then they can start to plan for it, they can start to work with you and start to anticipate those changes."