Episodes of The Sport Clips Haircuts Hall of Fame Podcast - John Kohler

Red Banner with HOF EpisodeThis episode is an interview with John Kohler, the Area Developer for Michigan, Illinois and Eastern Missouri, a region that includes over 170 Sport Clips locations. John is one of the most widely respected and beloved members of the Sport Clips family, and is celebrating his 15th year as an A.D. In this interview, John shares how he transitioned from a rewarding career in Corporate America to successfully launching Sport Clips in a new market. John also opens up about the importance of teamwork and what he has learned over the years, as well as how his day-to-day role has shifted since he has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

Chad Jordan and John Kohler.jpg

Episode Air Date Guest Name Guest Title Topic(s)
September 6, 2019 John Kohler Area Developer Reflections on growing Sport Clips in an emerging market

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Chad Jordan: Hey everybody, this is Chad Jordan from the Sport Clips Hall of Fame podcast. This is another edition, and we are extremely excited for today's episode because we have a living legend in the Sport Clips world, a dear friend of mine, the man who got me into Wrigley Field for the first time, and there's a reason I keep coming back to Chicago. It's this guy right here. So we're going to take a kind of tour of some sport clips stuff, history, the culture, things that we've seen change over the years. This guy has been a major reason why, major influence on our entire brand. So without further ado, you know what I'm going to do, John? I'm going to have you introduce yourself, your role, what you do, all that good stuff. So my guest today is ...

John Kohler: John Kohler. Thank you Chad. Appreciate you having me on this podcast. It's a pleasure to be here. I'm the area developer for Michigan, Illinois and Eastern Missouri. Essentially my team and I provide services to support 172 stores in the region.

Chad Jordan: Not just 172, but this is 172 of the best stores. If you were to do a look at the map of all the Sport Clips locations across the country, and Canada, John Kohler's territory happens to be one of the best, and it's no accident why. It's no secret why. It's he and his team. I know he's going to talk a lot about his team and how amazing they are, but we really want to get to the bottom, John, of what are you doing here? How long have you been here? What got you here? I want to pick your brain a little bit because there's future generations of people like you that can learn from what you've experienced, and kind of the foundation that you've laid. So can you give me just kind of a, let's start with one thing I'm interested in. What's a day in the life of John Kohler at Sport Clips? What does that look like right now?

John Kohler: Well, I get up, Chad, and I take a shower, and I head out to the ... I live in the city itself, so I head out to the suburbs and spend a fair amount of time [inaudible 00:02:18] and doing franchise sales, so that's my role in my organization is franchise sales. So essentially that's what I do.

Chad Jordan: What encompasses that role? How do you sell a Sport Clips franchise?

John Kohler: Well first-

Chad Jordan: You don't go knocking on doors.

John Kohler: No, actually we do in an indirect way. In fact, we just finished a mailing for Michigan where we sent out 5,700 letters to owners of businesses that owned small businesses. So figuring they would want to expand their portfolio, and we thought that that would be a good approach. In fact, I've had a few phone calls as a result of the mailing. But essentially, we do knock on doors in that respect. Then what we do is we make phone calls. We have a phone call interview, we then have a face to face interview at a store. Then we take the opportunity to bring them into my offices so they can meet my team, because that's really what this all about. And at the end of the day, the success of my region is based on the 14 employees that have been a critical part of my business. I've got an average tenure of six and a half years for each employee. So we've got a good seasoned team of people.

Chad Jordan: So you didn't start with 14 employees back in ... When did you start? When did you-

John Kohler: It's kind of an interesting story? Let me give you a little background.

Chad Jordan: Please.

John Kohler: I spent 31 years in corporate America, 11 years with Northrop Grumman and Defense Electronics. I've got a [inaudible 00:03:45], and I spent 20 years in telecommunications with a company called Tellabs. I was one of their senior executives. I had over 4,000 employees in my organization, and from 2000 to 2002, 2003, I laid off 3,800 of them.

Chad Jordan: Oh. That gets old fast.

John Kohler: Very fast. In fact, I tell you, laying off one person or laying off 3,800 matters little. So I laid off these people, and finally at some point, I just couldn't do it anymore, so I took an early retirement. When I went out and looked at, I punched around for a while, and a very good friend of mine said, “Take this seminar. Franchising could be your future.” I didn't want to go. It was painful because I didn't want to like Subway sandwiches. I went because he's a good friend of mine, and it made a lot of sense. The seminar actually hit home. It was a business broker there that Jerry Moriarty who took me under his wing and he said, “I'm going to show you seven different concepts.” I honed in on Sport Clips for the following reason, it's cash based, everybody needs a haircut. But after laying off 3,800 people and moving manufacturing to China and Mexico, I knew that they couldn't move this-

Chad Jordan: Right, right, right.

John Kohler: [crosstalk 00:05:00] to China and Mexico. So I jumped on it like a ton of bricks, and it's the best decision I ever made. I was 52 years old at the time, and I only wish I would have started sooner.

Chad Jordan: What year is this?

John Kohler: 2004, signed my first agreement in 2004. The way the evolution of my region developed was 2004, June 29th of 2004 I signed my first agreement for northern Illinois. I then bought the rights to southern Illinois, eastern Missouri in August of 2007. In November, 2011 I bought the rights to Michigan, western Michigan, and then finally in December, 2016 I bought the rights to eastern Michigan.

Chad Jordan: How many, let's see, 2004 so-

John Kohler: There were two stores in my region.

Chad Jordan: Okay, and there were how many in the country?

John Kohler: 143.

Chad Jordan: Okay, so you have as many, almost as many now in-

John Kohler: In the region.

Chad Jordan: ... yeah than what we had in the country when started.

John Kohler: It's an amazing thing when you reflect back on it, and it's amazing to think that you've grown this brand this much. There's locations that I drive past, and I think to myself, “I remember when we put that one in”, and it just-

Chad Jordan: They're like babies, right?

John Kohler: Yeah, exactly, just like babies.

Chad Jordan: Speaking of which, you have a grand baby-

John Kohler: I do.

Chad Jordan: ... now. We want to go and give her a shout out so when she listens to this down the road, she hears her grandfather?

John Kohler: Alexandria Sophia Kohler.

Chad Jordan: What is she going to call you? Have you figured that part out yet?

John Kohler: Yes, she's going to call me grandpa.

Chad Jordan: Okay grandpa, all right. My parents are poppie and neenee, grammy and nene and all that, so.

John Kohler: It's kind of funny when I was young growing up, my grandpa Kohler, my grandpa Kohler was old, and now I've just realized she's going to look up to me and say, “You're old.”

Chad Jordan: Same thing, exactly. Hey, you're only as old as you feel. So you have 140 some in your region now that's about-

John Kohler: 172.

Chad Jordan: 172. I'm sorry you have more than what was the 143 that were ...

John Kohler: The day I signed, we had 143 stores.

Chad Jordan: Tremendous. But you didn't start with 14 people. So how did you get things going in this region? No one knew what a Sports Clips was or anything like that. So how did you break in?

John Kohler: One of the things that I've always been adept to because I've been successful in my business career is you can't do it alone. At the end of the day, your success is driven by the success of the organization you create. When I was at Tellabs, I had a wonderful, probably one of the best manufacturing organizations on the earth. So I knew that if I was going to be successful at Sport Clips, I wasn't going to do it alone. So I started to build an organization. We started off with two, and then three, and a four, and then five, and six and so on, and so on, and so on.

Chad Jordan: What kind of people do you look for in your organization?

John Kohler: Well, there's really two types. There's operation coaches, which there's people like Matt Kamm, who is the director of new store development, Nina Dietrich, who is director of operations. I look for people that have a talent, that have the capability and the willingness to extend themselves. This is not a nine to five job, this is the 24 by seven kind of job.

Chad Jordan: Not a nine to five desk job where they are assigned to the same place every day, right? I mean there are-

John Kohler: No.

Chad Jordan: ... kind of out and all over.

John Kohler: The coaches, we have nine area coaches that are out on the street every day doing something, and there's a lot of trust that I put in those people.

Chad Jordan: Yeah. What kind of insight, oversight team meetings, what are you doing to kind of keep the team together, and checked in on each other?

John Kohler: Every year we have a planning meeting that we gather together, the group, all the coaches, all 14 employees we put together a business plan. We've vet that business plan with Gordon. We go and meet with him, and then have quarterly business reviews. The second Monday of every quarter, we have a business review with all 14 employees, and we go over where we're at, where we're going, and what do we need to change, what kind of mid course corrections. In addition to that, I have a weekly staff meeting.

Chad Jordan: What do you do? What do you do now that you wish you would've done earlier?

John Kohler: That's a great question. I think it's kind of interesting. When you graduate from corporate America, you think you know everything. You've got great ideas about what you'd like to do and how you'd like to do it. I think this is one of the themes that I've always pushed with my team leaders and future team leaders, and when they ask me what is the most important aspect of this business, it's really this simple, follow the system. Gordon Logan, the guy with the cowboy hat has made all the mistakes, and he made those mistakes, and he wants us not to make them again. I think if I would've followed the system more closely in the very beginning, it would've been a much, much easier task.

Chad Jordan: In those moments, if you can reflect and think back to when you didn't follow the system, was it because you thought you had invented a better mouse trap, or you just wanted to spread your wings a little bit? What were the reasons?

John Kohler: I think there's an element of everybody that's creative, and like to take that creative element and apply it to the business. Again, it goes back to, “This guy's made all the mistakes. Why should you repeat them?”

Chad Jordan: Yeah, yeah, and with all the creativity in the world at his fingertips as well, so that definitely makes sense. Can you give me insight into what some of those early challenges were when you were starting out and there were only two stores in location, nobody knew who Sport Clips really, what Sport Clips was all about? What were some of the early struggles that you had to overcome?

John Kohler: Well, you walk into a restaurant to meet a client because I didn't have an office at the time, and you walk in and they go, “Sport Clips. You must be selling memorabilia.”

Chad Jordan: Right, yeah like sports-

John Kohler: Sports memorabilia.

Chad Jordan: Right. Yeah.

John Kohler: I mean people had no clue who we were. Our ad fund for northern Illinois was $60,000, that's it. I remember we went to [inaudible 00:11:17], and I forget the gentleman's name who ran [inaudible 00:11:20], but essentially we went on a deal with the Chicago White Sox to have bathroom ads in front of the urinals. I wouldn't have done that.

Chad Jordan: Yeah, another lesson learned.

John Kohler: So stuff like that. Today, we've got 1.4 million dollars, and we've got a sophisticated ad program.

Chad Jordan: For your region.

John Kohler: Just Northern Illinois.

Chad Jordan: Yeah, this area.

John Kohler: Just the area we're sitting in right now, and we've got a sophisticated organization. We've got an incredible team in Georgetown with Daniel Lyndon and Martha England. We didn't have that back in 2004. We've got Efficiency Media, which is our media buying group. I mean our marketing program is so much advanced and more sophisticated than it was in 2004, it's incredible.

Chad Jordan: You're not just saying that because I am from the marketing department. So I appreciate the shout out to Martha and Danielle. What about you mentioned something that you wouldn't do again marketing wise. What are some things that are working for you right now in 2019?

John Kohler: I think there's all components or elements of the marketing plan, because we have what we call Media Day in September. I think it's September 29th this year, we invite all of our ... Amy Abrahams from Efficiency Media invites all of the participants, the cable guys, the radio guys, to digital media guys invites them to my offices, and we actually go over what ideas we have, et cetera. We put together a plan for the next year. Now one of the things that's working for us really, really well is our field marketing coordinator. We have a dedicated field marketing coordinator that's paid for out of the ad budget that spends all of her time doing event media, going to the Schaumburg Boomers, the Chicago Wolves, et cetera. It's been very effective at getting our brand out there.

Chad Jordan: When they go, what do they do? What does she do?

John Kohler: Pass out koozies. One of my favorite things to do is beer fests.

Chad Jordan: Oh yeah, please explain, get in detail.

John Kohler: Beer fests are really incredible. We do about five beer fests. So these are craft brewers that display their wares throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. Essentially what we do is we have a booth there with five and a half ounce koozies that fit perfectly on these little beer samplings. We are the most popular table in the bunch, but my field marketing coordinator assembles those events, coordinates them, and actually delivers on them.

Chad Jordan: Do you get stylists from other stores to go and help support?

John Kohler: We do. We do.

Chad Jordan: Okay. When they do that, are they paid? The stylists, are they paid for the day? Is this something they're doing out of the kindness of their heart? How does that work?

John Kohler: I'd love to believe that everybody would want to do things out of the kindness of their heart, but we do compensate them. If it's a City of Chicago event, we pay them $150 for the event. That covers their parking, their meals, that covers all of their time, et cetera. If it's a suburban event, because the parking's a little cheaper, a little less expensive, it's $125.

Chad Jordan: That's got to be one of the challenges for your region, this part of your region any ways is the City of Chicago, which you know I love, very fond of, especially anything to do with Chicago Cubs, but getting into town is not easy. Living in town is not easy. So had you anticipated some of the challenges around staffing and recruiting and all of that back in the day, or is this kind of something we're seeing more and more now that the city [crosstalk 00:14:53] grow?

John Kohler: It's kind of interesting. You bring up a good point, and that is what were some of the challenges I saw then, and how did it change today? When I first bought the rights to northern Illinois, I never thought for the life of me that we'd be doing things in Decatur, Illinois, Champaign-Urbana and Springfield. I thought the rural markets were going to be not nonexistent. I thought the Chicago market was going to be the hottest thing since sliced bread. It's actually turned out to be the inverse. The rural markets are incredible, lower competition, more stylist availability. The rural markets tend to be a real gold-

Chad Jordan: The lease spacing is not, the square footage is-

John Kohler: Not as challenging, whereas the urban market is much more challenging. It's a higher cost of living, so you have a more difficult time in staffing your stores. The rents are a little higher. Your price points are going to be a little bit higher as a result of that. The suburban markets are the suburban markets. They are what they are.

Chad Jordan: Yeah. One of the things I'm interested in, especially when I talk to someone, I mean you've been here, you said 2004.

John Kohler: June 29th, 2004. I'll never forget that day.

Chad Jordan: That's a great day. It's my grandma's birthday, it's June 29th yeah, grandma May, but so 15 years later, now that you're here, can you give me some of the highlights over the years, maybe the huddles, stories of Gordon. What are some of your favorite memories through the years here at Sport Clips?

John Kohler: I think when we opened our hundredth store, that was a big achievement. I'll never forget that.

Chad Jordan: Where was that?

John Kohler: Champaign, Champaign, Illinois. We actually went down there with a tent. We had a sign out in front of it. The sad thing is nobody else was there with us. It was just us, but it was fun.

Chad Jordan: Was it rainy? I mean-

John Kohler: No, it was actually a beautiful day. It was sunny. It was a wonderful day. That was a big milestone for me. We've got a wall of trophies that extend. I've got three leadership trophies that extend across the front of my front wall as you enter into my offices, and I'm very proud of all those trophies.

Chad Jordan: What are they for? What are the trophies for?

John Kohler: Things like most licenses sold, most stores opened, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, so.

Chad Jordan: Favorite huddle memory ever.

John Kohler: I love seeing San Antonio, Texas. I'm really looking at [crosstalk 00:17:20]-

Chad Jordan: Where we're going in 2020 yeah, and 21 I believe in.

John Kohler: I'm looking forward to Nashville as well.

Chad Jordan: Because you like country music or, I mean what about San Antonio [inaudible 00:17:30].

John Kohler: I just like the vibe, the River Walk, the hotels, the restaurants.

Chad Jordan: The openness. It's not like Vegas where you pretty much need to stay inside.

John Kohler: Being cattle carted to a restaurant.

Chad Jordan: Yeah, and you are on stage quite a bit either receiving awards, or usually doing something with the Wayne McGlone Fund, which I know is near and dear to your heart. Can you tell me a little bit about the Wayne McGlone Memorial Relief Fund, and why that means so much to you?

John Kohler: Wayne was very close friend of mine. When he passed away, it was big impact because I had literally just talked to him three days prior to his passing, and he was telling me about his cardiologist and how he got a clean bill of health. It was really a shock to see him passing.

Chad Jordan: Was it a heart attack?

John Kohler: It was a cardiac event, I think was the best way to put it. Yeah, but Wayne was very close to me, and then Gordon had set up the Wayne McGlone fund. It's always been a major part of my life. I've donated a fair amount of money to it and it means a lot. It means a lot to the people that benefit from. I've had a young lady in my office, her husband had a aortic aneurism and nearly lost his life. But when you have an air lift, a helicopter ride from Channahon Illinois to Loyola University, I won't go into how much-

Chad Jordan: That's not free.

John Kohler: It's not free. The Wayne McGlone fund made a dent in paying for some of the bills that she encountered. You think about the hurricane situations that have occurred in Texas, and some of the other events-

Chad Jordan: In Florida.

John Kohler: ... in the country.

Chad Jordan: Last year I think when to Johnny Weber's stores if I remember right.

John Kohler: So you think about the impact. It was genius for Gordon to set that up because it's just made such an impact on people's lives.

Chad Jordan: Yeah. Now you a few years ago were diagnosed with Parkinson's, right?

John Kohler: October of 2016.

Chad Jordan: Okay you and dates, you are just as sharp as attack, so.

John Kohler: Thank God I'm still as sharp as a tack.

Chad Jordan: You are. You're sharp, and I'm just going to say this, this isn't really part of the podcast, but John Kohler is so well respected around Sport Clips that he's on a level like Gordon Logan, and he doesn't know this because he's not at headquarters as often as some of us, but his name when it gets spoken of is spoken reverently. He is a living legend, and could not be more well thought of or well loved. So tell me a little bit-

John Kohler: Well I appreciate that.

Chad Jordan: Well it's all true, and that's why I've been itching to get you on here just because we love you so much. But can you walk me through the Parkinson's diagnosis? Was it out of left field? How has your life changed since-

John Kohler: In the summer of 2016, I noticed a twitch in my left thumb. It was just a twitch, but because my father-in-law had passed away as a result of Parkinson's, my wife was noticing it. She made a comment several times, so I finally said, “Fine, I'll go to the doctor.”

Chad Jordan: Yeah uncle, right, right?

John Kohler: “I give up. I'll go”, because it's just a twitch. It was not even noticeable. So I went to the doctor. I did a couple of tests. It took about 15 minutes. He looked at me and he said, “You've got Parkinson's, which is a lack of dopamine being produced in your brain, which creates what's called a movement disorder.”

Chad Jordan: He did this, there was no blood work. I mean, he-

John Kohler: No, no, this thing took about 15 minutes. So naturally being the analytic that I am, I said, “This is bullshit. I'm going to find out the truth.” So I decided to go to sort of-

Chad Jordan: It's a set up.

John Kohler: So I decided to go to some of the best institutions in the earth. So I went to University of Chicago, I went to Northwestern University, and then I finally went to Mayo Clinic, and they all said the same thing. “You've got Parkinson's.”

Chad Jordan: You keep looking for a second and third, fourth opinion.

John Kohler: So I realized I've got Parkinson's. There's not much they can do about it. There's not a lot of options. So they've got me on of dopamine activator that kind of stimulates dopamine production, but eventually I'll go on what's called a dopamine replacement program, and a little heavier drugs, but they can treat it with drugs for the most part.

Chad Jordan: Well, I mean, so let's see, it's 2019. This was 2016 you got diagnosed. I started at Sport Clips 2015. I feel like you're sharper than ever. So have you noticed anything over the last three years? Are you still slinging a hundred mile an hour curve, fast ball?

John Kohler: No. No.

Chad Jordan: You feel like-

John Kohler: Physically, I have some limitations. Putting my socks on in the morning is a challenge. But cognitively I've been tested, and there's been those no sign of any slippage and et cetera. So I feel pretty good right that way. But I'm 66 years old. I'll be 67 in December. Some of that's got to things like bad knees, et cetera, you'll appreciate that [crosstalk 00:22:36].

Chad Jordan: Yeah. I'm getting there. Trust me, so.

John Kohler: People have asked me, they said, “When are you going to retire?” I love what I do. I truly love what I do, and I love the people that I work with. If I had to retire or anything, it'll kill me.

Chad Jordan: Yeah. Well it's like it goes Bear Bryant and Joe paternal and all these coaches that they coach into their eighties or whatever and then retire, and that's the last we hear of them really physically. So it does keep you sharp, and you got such a great team around you. It feels like it's a well oiled machine at this point.

John Kohler: I'm so confident in my team. I know they've got my back, and I've got theirs. They'll run through brick walls for me, and I'll run through a brick wall for them. That's the way the kind of respect that we've got for each other.

Chad Jordan: What do you see on the horizon for your team, for this market, Sports Clips?

John Kohler: The big challenge that we're all facing is availability of stylists. If I had an extra stylist to each one of my stores, our client count will be up another 5.6%. Bottom line is we've got those challenges. If we can solve that, we win the war, we beat the competition. We've got to become the employer of choice. We've got to have a line of people outside our doors that want to work for Sport Clips.

Chad Jordan: It seems that in this area, now, I visited six stores yesterday, last time I was here for leadership, I've visited a number of stores, I really feel like you guys are doing a great job culturally getting a stylist fired up about working at Sport Clips. It feels like they enjoy it. Have you sensed kind of a tipping point for culture in this region where stylists feel like this is a family, and team members want to stay longterm?

John Kohler: In 2006, 7, 8, 9 when we had the great recession, and economy was on the brink of disaster, we didn't have as nearly the challenge of hiring is that we have today. When you've got full employment and you've got alternative, people say, “Well what about the minimum wage?” I don't care about the minimum wage. The minimum wage is whatever people are willing to pay. I've got a young lady who went to work for a dental office and went to work for $19 an hour, and I said to her, I said, “You're making $26 an hour with tips.” She looked at me, she said, “But I am getting Saturdays and Sundays off.” It's more about work life balance than it is about money. So what we've got to do is find a way to help these young people to get a work life balance, because many of them are single mothers, et cetera, and they've got kids, and they've got to have time for their families.

Chad Jordan: Mm-hmm (affirmative) I agree there. Your favorite part of your job is what?

John Kohler: Interfacing with people. I love people. I love going to the stores. I love interacting with the teams. I just love people.

Chad Jordan: Yeah. What about some team member interactions that you've had over the years? Are there any doozies? Are there any ones that really stick out because they're sentimental?

John Kohler: I used to like, I say, used to because I don't do it nearly as much anymore, I used to really enjoy getting up in front of people and doing leaderships. I can't do that anymore. One of the side effects of my Parkinson's is I have a hard time standing in front of groups of people. I get very introverted. I was-

Chad Jordan: That doesn't sound like you. Yeah.

John Kohler: I'm still a big extrovert in a way, but I still have a hard time standing up in front of people.

Chad Jordan: Is it a self conscious thing or-

John Kohler: Yes.

Chad Jordan: Okay.

John Kohler: Very definitely.

Chad Jordan: So even in a situation where you're beloved, everybody's on your side, it's still something that you ...

John Kohler: Very hard, very, hard, but I love doing leaderships.

Chad Jordan: Yeah. I love coming and doing your leaderships. You've got, like I said-

John Kohler: I can drive my car.

Chad Jordan: ... one of my favorites. So the very first time I get picked up, this is for, you know this story, but it was in June of this year, and of course I know that you have Parkinson's. I love you dearly. I planned on spending the day with you. We were going from Detroit to Lansing, I think.

John Kohler: We were going from Lansing to Chicago.

Chad Jordan: Oh Lansing to Chicago, and I get in the car, and Megan [Manus 00:27:05] is with us, and I figured, well she'd be doing the driving. John, he's got some physical challenges or whatever. Nope, I get in the car, he's the one driving, but that's fine. Megan graciously now looking back, I realized selfishly decide she'll take the back seat, I'll take the front seat. So I get in the car, we are five minutes into this ride and having to get on the freeway, and it's one of those on ramps where you got to merge into traffic, and John decides he's just going to floor it. There's semi trucks-

John Kohler: Semi was overtaking us.

Chad Jordan: Yeah, yeah. There was a semi coming right on to the left of us, and John just has to make this executive decision, is he going to just kind of ease into it and get on, get behind this guy and just kind of get on the freeway, or is he going to gun it, throw my life at risk and give me the ride of a lifetime? Of course, he opts for that, and I immediately needed to pull over. We had to get into my suitcase for a change of pants for me, but that pretty much set the tone for that-

John Kohler: It was perfectly safe.

Chad Jordan: Yes. There were air bags that could have been deployed if they were needed, but that's the thing I love about John. He obviously, he's a risk taker. He's someone that doesn't just, he doesn't throw caution to the wind. How about a calculated risk taker? You've certainly been that over your career.

John Kohler: It's kind of funny when you're talking about road trips. Some of the most memorable, if you think about my region, Chicago-

Chad Jordan: So spread out.

John Kohler: ... Chicago to St Louis, it's about four and a half hours-

Chad Jordan: Each way.

John Kohler: ... five hours each way. People ask, “Do you fly to those locations?” to No, you don't fly. If you fly you, you're going to end up spending four and a half hours just getting there-

Chad Jordan: In the airport.

John Kohler: ... through the airport security, etc. So we drive, and we made many memorable trips, some real white knuckle winter ones too.

Chad Jordan: Oh, I can imagine. Oh gosh, here in the winter. Yeah, so anytime I visit, just know it'll be May to October ish. So I learned my lesson there at a time or two. I've had some good times with some windshield time as [Daryl Mobile 00:29:30] used to call it with some of the folks around the country. You certainly being one of them. Well more than anything I got some fun questions here I want to get to. Again this is-

John Kohler: I can't wait.

Chad Jordan: This was just a treat. I just wanted to make sure we got you. I want ... How about this? When the future ... How about Alex Kohler? Well, is it Kohler's her last name? Yes.

John Kohler: Alexandria.

Chad Jordan: Alexia, yeah, but don't you call her Alex?

John Kohler: I call her Alex, yes.

Chad Jordan: Okay. Maybe she's the future AD of this region. So what advice are you going to give when she goes back and listens to this? What advice do you want to leave her with on how to do a great job?

John Kohler: Do what you love. I've always done that with my kids. I've told them “Don't do something just because I did it. Do something you love.” My kids have done all their own things, and they're very happy and settled in et cetera. But the same advice I give my granddaughter is the same advice I give everybody and that is, “What you've got passion in your heart for, do it.”

Chad Jordan: Yeah. I love that. I love you John. So here's what we're going to do. These are 10 kind of fun questions. There's no wrong answer. I don't do follow ups. I'm not going to do a deep dive into these. You're just going to tell me what the first thing that is on your mind on these. All right, ready?

John Kohler: Go ahead. I'm ready.

Chad Jordan: Number one, if you could have any superpower, what would it be?

John Kohler: Oh my gosh.

Chad Jordan: We just talked about, I think I know the answer, but-

John Kohler: Read minds.

Chad Jordan: Read minds? Oh, see I was going to say flying because it would save on all the driving you have to do if it's being [inaudible 00:31:12].

John Kohler: See, here's why I read minds. I'm dealing with team leaders every day. It'd be wonderful-

Chad Jordan: Oh yes wouldn't-

John Kohler: ... to probe what's going on their minds.

Chad Jordan: What they're really thinking too about you.

John Kohler: I love my team leaders. I want to make things clear.

Chad Jordan: Yes of course. Yes. Yeah, for the record, of course. Okay. Well, you might've just said this, but just in case, what is your personal motto?

John Kohler: Do what you love.

Chad Jordan: I think so. Yeah. I think you just said it, so.

John Kohler: I really emphasize that. It's kind of interesting. I've dealt with, coached a lot of people throughout my life. I love these people that whine and gripe and complain. I said, “You're the CEO of your own company. No matter what you are, you're the CEO, my daughter especially after I've helped her out a lot. You're CEO Kohler. Make decisions for Kohler Inc.”

Chad Jordan: Yeah, yeah. I like that. Do what you love. All right. If you could pick anywhere else in the world, I know you love your Chicago land, but if you could pick anywhere else in the world to live, where would that be?

John Kohler: Austin, Texas.

Chad Jordan: Oh really? Okay, so you get more done or just because, yeah.

John Kohler: I love Texas for a lot of reasons. One, I like the cosmopolitan nature of it, the Texas atmosphere. The people in Texas are friendly, and fun and there's no [inaudible 00:32:26]-

Chad Jordan: I was going to say that too if you didn't get to it. Yes, or Florida, Texas or Florida take your pick.

John Kohler: Florida's got a problem if the glaciers do melt.

Chad Jordan: Yeah, it's underwater [crosstalk 00:32:37].

John Kohler: It's going to get a little wet. Texas is a safe bet.

Chad Jordan: Yeah, that's true. Okay. What sound or noise do you love?

John Kohler: I like all kinds of music, so there's no-

Chad Jordan: Mm-hmm (affirmative) well then why do you listen to talk radio on these four and a half hour trips everywhere you go if you love music so much?

John Kohler: I don't just listen to any talk radio. I listen to Fox News.

Chad Jordan: Yeah. Okay. All right. I'm going to have to cut that out now for all the liberals listening to this, just kidding. All right. What sound are-

John Kohler: I'm very balanced. I listen to CNN too.

Chad Jordan: Okay. All right. Yeah. Get that in there. What sound or noise do you hate?

John Kohler: I hate fingernails on a blackboard.

Chad Jordan: Okay. Huh? That's, yeah.

John Kohler: Really do.

Chad Jordan: Yeah that's up there. What would you consider ... Number six, what would you consider your greatest achievement?

John Kohler: My four kids, and believe me throughout their life, my oldest is 40, my youngest is 31 I've got four, three boys and my daughter.

Chad Jordan: You're spoiled daughter, I mean your daughter.

John Kohler: She was the youngest.

Chad Jordan: Oh my gosh, baby girl.

John Kohler: We went through many challenges throughout those years, but they all survived, and I mean, I'm really proud of that.

Chad Jordan: Now you've got another generation with your granddaughter. Okay, these are kind of three fun ones, and then one kind of serious one to finish. All right. Now the first, this is question number seven, but the first of these fun ones, all right. When they make a movie based on your life story, who do you want to play the lead role, what actor?

John Kohler: Jack Nicholson.

Chad Jordan: Jack Nicholson, okay. All right.

John Kohler: I love Jack.

Chad Jordan: Yeah, he'd be perfect. I could see him pulling this off definitely. In that movie you, you get to pick the band that does the soundtrack. What band does it?

John Kohler: Aerosmith.

Chad Jordan: Oh, look at you. All right, and then the movie has to have a title of course. You get to pick the title. What do you call this movie, the story of your life?

John Kohler: I have no clue. That is a great question.

Chad Jordan: Supposed to make you think. [crosstalk 00:34:49]-

John Kohler: Don't make me think too hard this morning.

Chad Jordan: How about that question? That's the title, Don't Make Me Think Too Hard This Morning. That sounds like a bestseller. All right, last question. If heaven indeed exists, what do you hope to hear from God when you walk through the pearly gates?

John Kohler: Welcome.

Chad Jordan: Ah yes. Come on in.

John Kohler: I don't want to have to go through any special process.

Chad Jordan: Well, let me pull up your file real quick. Let me just check. There's some uncertainty. No, I don't think you have anything to worry about.

John Kohler: It's kind of interesting. My mother's 95 years old.

Chad Jordan: Wow.

John Kohler: She's got terminal cancer. She's made a choice in life to go on into the next life, and she's the maximus catholic, so I'm convinced she's got a ticket.

Chad Jordan: Yes.

John Kohler: So I'm hoping she-

Chad Jordan: She'll be waiting there with you. Yeah. “I vouch for him, right?”

John Kohler: Exactly, simplify the process.

Chad Jordan: Oh, well that's sweet. Yeah. Well, speaking of sweet, this time has been precious. It's flown by. More than anything, like I said earlier, I needed to get you on this because you are, this is called the Hall of Fame podcast, and I couldn't think of anyone else, anyone better qualified to be a hall of famer than you.

John Kohler: Thank you Chad, I appreciate that.

Chad Jordan: So we love you. This is really from the heart of Sport Clips back to you. We are excited about what you've already done, but also what the future holds in store for this region. This 170 plus stores, they wouldn't be here without you. So, and certainly Sport Clips wouldn't have advanced as far as it is without you.

John Kohler: It's been a fun ride.

Chad Jordan: Yeah, it has been. So thank you for being such a big part of it. Thank you everybody for listening. As you could tell, this is quite the man, and he was a perfect guest today. So thank you again John.

John Kohler: You're welcome, thank you.

Chad Jordan: We'll have a new episode for you guys next week. Thanks so much.