Leslie Wexner: I kind of backed into it. I opened the store and it was successful, and I said, if I had one, I probably could have two in the city. And if you have two in the city, you could have three. And I would think, “How many stores could you have?” If you could only have — let’s say the size of the market — the city of Columbus, I could have four stores.
So I said, “But if you went to two cities, you could have eight stores.” So that was kind of the amateur — the 27-year-old or 26-year-old — talking to himself. And I’d say, but people didn’t have stores in multiple cities. Department stores were locally owned. Specialty stores were locally owned. There were no regional or national businesses.
So I thought, when we lived in Chicago, my dad would commute an hour from the North Side to the South Side to work every day. It was an hour going and an hour coming. And I said, “Jeez, I could open a store in Dayton. It’s an hour to Dayton, an hour back. Dayton is kind of like Columbus. So if I lived in Chicago, I’d be commuting, so I’ll just commute to Dayton.” So that was the idea. I told my dad I was going to do that, and he said, “The merchants in Dayton will eat you alive. You’re lucky to be successful in Columbus.” I said, “Well, I think it’s the same and if the store doesn’t work, I could afford one failure.” And it worked.