October 1, 2007

Those Who Dare

Bud Chiles says that "Those Who Dare" is a good theme for his father's political and business ventures. The willingness to get far out in front where you're all alone.

The first business ideas fell flat. But his Dad's gutsy investment in the upstart Red Lobster chain in 1968 paid off handsomely, and left him with the financial foundation to take an even bigger risk and run for the U.S. Senate in 1970.

Short on cash from his previous business deals, Lawton borrowed money from his maid Ruby to throw down for Red Lobster, which began as just a few restaurants in Lakeland and then Orlando. Wasn't long before Lawton and Ruby hit their payday, as the chain expanded and expanded and then was gobbled up by General Mills.

He didn't make megamillions on it, but just enough to feel secure in taking his next big step.

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