Chapter 69: The Xu Family’s great boat is soon to sail
On the second last day of Xu Tingsheng's holiday week, Mr Xu finally returned from his trip out of town. He hurriedly ate dinner with his family before going to the supermarket to understand how things had been going these past few days.
In truth, Xu Tingsheng very much wished to sit down with his father and have a proper chat with him. Ever since the university semester had begun, Mr Xu had virtually not mentioned to him anything regarding his business over the phone at all. Meanwhile, having returned this time, Xu Tingsheng had discovered a troubling fact: Their supermarket really had too many people in Management.
It was 10pm when Mr Xu returned home.
Xu Tingsheng had not yet gone to bed. He had been waiting.
“I just knew that you would be waiting for me,” Mr Xu said, “We’ll talk later. First, follow me..”
Mr Xu set down his things and led Xu Tingsheng outside the house before pointing towards a vast stretch of open land as well as a mountain that stood before it in the distance, “It’s less than a twenty minutes journey away from the county from here. Why then is this place still a poor village?”
Before Xu Tingsheng could answer, he continued, “...It’s because of that mountain. It’s blocked the path ahead of us...and also blocked our vision.”
Xu Tingsheng knew that his father must be going somewhere with this. He did not interrupt, waiting for him to continue.
“I, your father, was once this mountain ahead of you that blocked your path. The family background that I gave you determined that the path ahead of you would be very difficult, that it would be very, very difficult for you to progress on it. Even looking a little further ahead would be very difficult.”
Mr Xu continued, “Fortunately, you gave me a push forward. Ever since that day when we father and son stood together at the entrance of the supermarket, I told myself that I, Xu Jianliang, currently at 45 years of age, still have it left in me...I want to uproot that mountain for you, lay the path ahead for you...then hand it over to you. You go to the outside world and make a killing. If you succeed, Dad will be proud of you. If you fail, just come back to Dad’s place.”
Xu Tingsheng’s mind fell momentarily into a trancelike state. This wasn’t like the Mr Xu in his memories. More accurately, even the most successful, high-spirited Mr Xu in the memories of his childhood lacked the demeanor and the mindset that he had now. Meanwhile, during the days in which he had merely toiled in the fields, the most meaningful thing he had said to Xu Tingsheng had merely been a: Walk out of the mountain.
Yet, Xu Tingsheng had now heard something of totally different import altogether. In just a mere month, Mr Xu had changed...very much, truly very greatly.
Mr Xu’s gaze had already penetrated through the mountain, already saw very far away. The only thing that had not changed was that all that he did, all that he wanted to do, was still all for the sake of Xu Tingsheng, his son.
“Come, us father and son will go drink together. You haven’t tasted Dad’s cooking for a long time, right?”
Mr Xu got busy on the stove, heating up some rice wine and whipping up two simple dishes as Xu Tingsheng laid out the bowls and chopsticks on the table.
Mr Xu sat down, filling up two glasses with wine and raising a wineglass, “Son...with this first cup, Dad thanks you. I’ve actually wanted to say this thanks for a long time. Thank you, for giving old Dad this push ahead.”
Xu Tingsheng downed the wine before smiling, “Why the thanks? For me, it’s always been you, Dad, who’s opened the paths in the face of mountains and constructed the bridges in the face of water.”
Finishing the wine, Mr Xu joked, “Top scholars really are good at speaking, being even more awesome than their dads now...it can’t be that even your alcohol tolerance is higher than mine now, right?”
“Test it out?”
“Impertinent brat! Let’s test it out then.”
The father and son first chugged down the wine to a semi-drunken state. As the alcohol slowly got to Mr Xu’s head, he finally decided to answer a few of the doubts in Xu Tingsheng’s mind.
“Firstly, why haven’t I mentioned my business matters to you since you went off to university? Because I wanted to try to achieve all this on my own.”
“In discussing the distribution of foreign brands, I headed in myself. The doors of those vast corporate entities-I went to knock on them myself…”
“I have a competent son, but I can’t always be depending on you. I’m not old yet; you’re still young...the weight of this family shouldn’t be placed on your shoulders so early on.”
“Secondly, why does our supermarket have so many people in Management?...”
“They aren’t prepared for this store. Soon, they will be dispatched elsewhere. Of Jianhai City’s eight counties, I have already secured stores in four of them. Our expansion is just right around the corner.”
The extent of Mr Xu’s resolve and the swiftness in which he had made his move far surpassed Xu Tingsheng’s expectations. When initially having thought of establishing a large scale supermarket, he had actually already planned for it to eventually expand to neighbouring territories. Still, never had he thought that it might come so fast, so aggressively…
From what he had originally planned, it would be around a year later before he proposed the expansion of the franchise to Mr Xu.
Now, just two short months after their first supermarket had begun operation, with no hint or push from Xu Tingsheng at all, Mr Xu had already embarked on the road of expansion.
With the current economic environment and their path of development, Xu Tingsheng knew that there was basically no chance at all of large scale supermarkets like Happy Shoppers making a loss. It might even be said that virtually every single branch of Happy Shoppers would surely become the cornerstone of the Xu Family’s rise to prominence.
There were only two things that he was worried about.
First was the scale of the collective investments. Currently, the funds possessed by Mr Xu had already surpassed seven million yuan.
Just a single Happy Shoppers in Libei alone, however flourishing its business, would never be able to provide sufficient funding for their plans. Therefore, Xu Tingsheng knew that not only would Mr Xu not have ceased in collective investment over this period of time, he must instead have accelerated his pace greatly.
Secondly, the rise in Mr Xu’s ambition and position might possibly affect the warmth and happiness of their Xu family.
Xu Tingsheng was sufficiently confident in his father’s character. He was just worried that in the tiring process of climbing high, what would be lost would be the closeness and warmth within their family.
“You’ve got something you want to say but you don’t know how to get to, right?” Seeing Xu Tingsheng deep in thought with a look of hesitation on his face, Mr Xu smiled as he asked.
Xu Tingsheng thought for a bit before venturing rather hesitantly, “Dad, you remember how our relationship when I was young wasn’t as good as it is now? Back then, I was very scared of you.”
“Back then, you were busy in the factory and always came home very late. Every time this happened, I would tell Mum that I would go to the roadside and wait for you, because it was really seldom that I saw you, and I also really wished to see you…”
“I would really go, but every time you appeared at the end of that road on your bicycle, I would immediately go into hiding. Because after a day’s of hard work, you would always look rather fierce, and would get easily irritated as well…”
“Sometimes, I would happily go forth and yell a greeting. Instead, I would be scolded by you for still running about so late at night…”
“Afterwards, I began to fear you. I was scared, very scared...yet afterwards, I began ignoring you, even starting to get used to showing my temper at you…”
At this point, Xu Tingsheng watched Mr Xu for any changes in his expression as he stopped, not continuing any further.
The atmosphere was rather stiff till a radiant smile suddenly blossomed on Mr Xu’s tensed up face.
Drinking a mouthful of wine, Mr Xu then teased, “How befitting of my top scholar son. You’ve become really awesome now, even knowing how to go around in circles hinting about things when talking with your Dad.”
Despite knowing that his father was joking, Xu Tingsheng still felt rather perturbed.
“If you have anything on your mind in the future, just say it to Dad directly.”
“Dad knows what you’re worried about. Your mother, your sister and I already expressed our stances on this when you weren’t around. Our final conclusion was that in the future, unless a new supermarket branch begins operation, I can only not eat dinner at home once per week at most. Next, I have to be responsible for cooking at least one meal every week...Also, I’m in charge of planting the vegetables to be eaten at home...Now, is there anything you feel should be added on?”
Xu Tingsheng chortled in foolish joyfulness, his earlier worries dissipating into the wind like smoke. Now, he knew that there was no one else more concerned about the warmth and happiness of their family than his father, no one more vigilant with regard to all the possible threats that might negatively affect them. What Xu Tingsheng had been worried about-he had already long since taken it into consideration.
“One more rule. Every time I come back, Dad has to whip up some dishes for me and accompany me for a few cups,” Xu Tingsheng said with a smile on his face.
“Agreed,” Mr Xu heartily responded.
Xu Tingsheng did not bring up the matter of collective investment, because he had actually not seen any problems with regard to it. Even if problems did exist therein, he was still confident of filling up these gaps with his own abilities.
Of course, he still expressed his worry that this expansion of theirs might be a little too hasty.
Mr Xu told Xu Tingsheng, “It’s not us who’re hasty; it’s others who’re hasty. I could only make my move earlier than the rest.”
The effects of Happy Shoppers’ success in Libei had been immense. The neighbouring counties aside, even others within Libei County were beginning to have designs on this modern large scale supermarket industry, wanting to get a share of this lucrative pie.
Mr Xu possessed the required funds, channels, skilled personnel and gradually maturing mode of operation. Therefore, it was only natural and right that he make the first move.
This time, not only had he secured stores in four neighbouring counties, he had even obtained a store in a large merchandise building of Libei County as well. From Xu Tingsheng’s impressions, considering Libei County’s transport network as well as the area of the available stores, this was the sole remaining place here at which a large scale supermarket could be established. In truth, it was indeed here in his previous life at which Libei County’s second large scale supermarket had been established.
And now, Mr Xu already possessed this location.
“What’s our next move? What I mean is that after the neighbouring counties have all been filled up, what would Dad’s next plan of action then be?” Xu Tingsheng asked his father.
Mr Xu actually had a map of Jianhai City’s administrative areas on him as he took it out and unfurled it before Xu Tingsheng, smiling as he said, “Aren’t there the neighbouring cities as well? There are still many counties in these cities...perhaps there will even come a day when a map of the entire country sits within your Dad’s bag. How many counties would that be then? Also, in the future, what map will it be that sits within your bag?”
“You won’t be heading to the big cities?”
“Not for the time being. From observing the animal kingdom, I have understood one thing. Before the Xu Family has become a lion, we will not be going to the big plains.”
“Villages surround a city.”
At this point, Xu Tingsheng felt that Mr Xu currently already needed no further reminders. Meanwhile, Mr Xu was far more competent than him in actual business operations.
He could set his heart at ease and walk his own path.
The father and son downed their final glass of wine.
The Xu Family’s great boat was soon to sail.
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