Cal Turner




The Eldest Son

By Turney Stevens, Dean

He was the oldest son, born after a sister and before a younger sister and a younger brother.

The family business, a general merchandise company, had been founded in Kentucky by his grandfather.  His own father inherited the business and ran it with great success while the children were becoming adults.

Like Jacob in the Bible, he held the birthright and, because of that, he eventually succeeded his father as CEO. Later, his younger brother also joined the business and became the chief operating officer. But, the youngest son was destined to report to the older brother and, like many brothers, eventually there was friction.

What happened next is the stuff of novels.

The company grew to a public, multi-billion dollar chain called Dollar General Corporation.

Cal Turner, Jr. and the rest of his family became exceptionally wealthy. Outside investors provided the capital to allow this growth to happen but, eventually, they insisted that Cal had to force his dad, by then the company's chairman, out of the business and Cal himself concluded that he would also have to tell his brother to leave the company's employment as well.

How does a family survive such strains? How does a leader lead under such excruciating circumstances? How does a man like Cal Turner become one of the nation's most respected Christian businessmen despite all this drama? How does the younger brother become one of Nashville's most respected real estate developers and philanthropists? And how do the brothers continue to value each other...and even to speak?

For the answers, you'll want to watch this week's Conversations With The Dean featuring Cal Turner, Jr.

Dollar General was a family business founded in Scottsville, Kentucky with the mission of selling everyday items for a dollar to rural families.  Today it is one of the nation's great retail juggernauts. The Turner family imprint on the business was all encompassing and remains dominant even to today.

Cal Turner Jr. is retired today but he is certainly not retiring.