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Philotimo, the love of honor, is a Greek way of life that is closely tied to the way Nicholas & Company has been run since it was founded in 1939 by Greek immigrant Nicholas Mouskondis.
Peter Mouskondis, current president and CEO of Nicholas & Company, described philotimo as, “a sense of love for family, community and country. A joyful hospitality and sense of nobility enshrined in Greek culture. The notion that we have an obligation to one another to make things better. The sense of right and wrong and the duty to do what’s right.”
Mouskondis was the keynote speaker yesterday at the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) Utah chapter’s monthly breakfast meeting. He is the company’s third-generation leader and attributes much of the success of the company to family and taking care of the people in business with Nicholas & Company.
Parsons Behle & Latimer shareholder Mark Lehman commented that businesses like Nicholas & Company have made Utah stand out in the nation. “We have a different sense of commitment to the quality of our businesses, to doing the right thing, to having passion for our business. And Peter’s business is a great example of that,” Lehman said.
Nicholas & Company’s vision statement is to be one with their partners in mutual success. And according to Mouskondis, that doesn’t just mean with customers, but with the community, vendors and partners.
Another key to success is finding the right employees to fit in with the company culture, said Mouskondis. Team members make a company what it is and since Nicholas & Company is family oriented, it keeps in mind the family values of individuals applying for jobs with the company.
Mouskondis said, “If you can never afford to pay yourself, you make sure you pay your vendors and your customers. There were times at Nicholas & Company that really happened. I remember as a little kid seeing the stress on my dad’s face, and he was a great father, but he made sure that that was ingrained in me, and I think that’s helped to this day with the success we’ve made.”
The company also has overcome obstacles by recognizing problems and seeking solutions. Mouskondis noted that his father had to convince him to take the company outside of the Intermountain area. He told him, “If we don’t, we’re not going to have a business for the next generation.”
As far as advice for businesses goes, Mouskondis said, “You have to have a passion. You have to be relentless, but you want to be consistent. I don’t want to be the Wal-Mart of the industry. I want to be the Saks Fifth Avenue. I want people to say, ‘I’ll pay more to buy from Nicholas & Company, because I know what I’m going to get.’ It’s not all about the numbers.”