Perspectives from ISB

Lynda Smith Swann is the president and owner of National Wholesale, a women’s apparel business, started in 1952, which is now celebrating its 65th year of business.

Although Lynda grew up at National, she went into counseling after receiving her undergraduate in psychology and her master’s in education from the University of North Carolina. From there she joined the ranks of working women — juggling being a wife, first-time mom, social worker and business advisor to her father. In 1984, after the birth of her second child, Parker Wilson, Lynda was asked by her dad to join National full time.

A far cry from education, she began in National’s advertising agency working to brand items like Tummy Tamer hosiery. Asked if she wishes she had studied business instead, she quickly replies.

“As a business owner, the skills I learned as a counselor I put to good use every day,” she says. “Having an open line of communication with your employees is key to being successful.”

She goes on to add, “I learned so much from my father, not only about business but about setting yourself apart from your competitors by really focusing on customer service. Daddy’s motto of, ‘Treat every customer as if she were our only customer,’ is still the guiding principle by which I operate National today.” Lynda hopes to create that same sense of good fortune and business opportunities for her daughter, Parker, as she joins the National family, too.

As for why she has kept it local when so many like companies have outsourced those services, Lynda quotes her father saying, “Lexington is an ordinary, extraordinary town with ordinary, extraordinary people.”

She says that her family’s love for Lexington goes back to her father’s days as an orphan at the Lexington Junior Order Orphanage (now the American Children’s Home). The day he left there he was given $5, and through the generosity of so many area people, he was able to thrive. He not only built a company, he also built a legacy that Lynda and Parker continue today.

Source: Thomas, Belinda., The Dispatch, February 22, 2017,—family-business-where-time-and-truth-travel-together