262: Pete Nordstrom Podcast
Pete Nordstrom: I had a fantastic chat with an old buddy from college that is now, along with his brother Eric, running Nordstrom. Certainly no small feat. We talked about running the family business, how he earned what he has become, his family, charities he supports, and his favorite hobby beyond sports, playing in a band. Pete is a great guy who just gets it. Happy for him and his success. Listen to this episode as you can learn so much.
Again with another great episode of Finding Your Summit, all about people overcoming adversity and finding their way. Before I get into today’s rock Star guest, I want to make sure I draw attention to my website. There’s a lot of cool things going on there. Number One, I’ve got over 275 podcasts of amazing people doing incredible things which we’re going to talk to. Also another one of those people today, that’s number one. Also, if you can go give some love on Apple helps elevate the show with any kind of ratings and review. Number two, Uh, the amazing film Searching for the sum at the NFL, produced on my incredible journey up and down Mount Everest is also available there. And number three, I continue to raise money for Emilia’s Everest. My daughter has epilepsy. We’ve been dealing with that now for a long time. And everything goes to Higher Ground, which is based here in Sun Valley, Los Angeles and New York. It’s all about empowerment for other people and we continue to want to serve everyone and certainly we campaign through millions every The thirty third team dot com is your must follow for everything going on in the NFL today, with videos and analysis from current players as well as former players coaches in NFL execs. It will change the way you see the game. Plus you can use the Edge, Football’s most powerful and informative interactive tool to guide all your fantasy decisions and wagers. And it’s free. Find them online at the thirty third team dot com.
So on that note, I want to start with a guy that I have known a long time. We go back about thirty years, maybe it’s forty. I haven’t done the math exactly, but if it was freshman, I think we’re the same year and his name is Pete Nordstrom. Pete, how are you doing, Mark, I’m doing right. I am so happy to be invited to be on your show. It’s been a little while, senior, so it’s fun to connect again. You know. It’s wonderful. And you know, we’ve always known each other from far and also up close, and it really started the University Washington. I think we’re both freshmen. You ended up going to the Beta House. There was a big family tradition with the Betas. I was down the street the Fiji House. But another thing that we shared in common was that love of sport. You were playing on on the basketball team. I played on the football team, and you know, there’s very success on on both ends, and and it’s just I think so much of that and with the coaching and the mentorship, it just meant so much in terms of who we are today, in terms of the path, the goals, achievement, those things that really set kind of a tone to where we sit today. Yeah. Well, first of all, for you to create any kind of similarity between your the success of your your collegiate sports life and mine is that would be that’s flattering to you, But it’s not true. I mean, you were a much more successful guy. As you recall in those days, Uh, the Huskies had a JV basketball program, which was essentially where all the walk ons went, and so that’s where that’s where I resided. You were. You were a scholarship guy making stuff happen. So it was a little bit bit bit different story. But I will say for me, it was really a great part of my life being attached to that and being part of that because even at the end of the day, there was still only I don’t know less than thirty guys on the whole campus playing basketball there at Washington And even though I told an obscurity a little bit. That was really never my endgame was, you know, to be a star some I was really thrilled to be a part of it, and it was I look back on that time super fondly. Well yeah, and you know, look, I’m not measuring my comment based on success and me going into the NFL and you’re not going to the NBA or playing varsity. It really wasn’t about that. I think it was really again going back to the lessons learned in life. And the thing is is that you had to show up. I had to show up every day. We were were accountable in terms of being in the weight room, We were accountable in terms of doing you know a certain thou in school. We were accountable in terms of making sure that we came in, we knew the place, and that we can we could execute them. And you are a positive part of that team. And I think that’s what separates so many I’ve got so many wonderful friends that played on the football team, the University Washington Houskee football team, and as you know, in those days, we were super successful and and many of those guys were walk on and and you know those guys, it was amazing the impact that Don James and that system and just being a part of something much grander than all of us, you know, meant to them and who they are today in terms of the formation of their personality and their character. So that’s what I really meant about. You know, you going and you, like you said, those thirty guys, there’s only so many people show up in your one of them. Yeah, and you know, yeah, it’s fun to be attached to something like that. Um that you can be a part of that obviously is more than just yourself. And you know, when I was there, the basketball teams were successful too, so just being a part of that was was really gratifying to me. And I think your point about what that teaches you in a lot of ways, what college is all about, almost regardless of what you’re studying and all this is that you learn how to take accountability for yourself and and show up and do the job. And yeah, I mean you definitely, you know, you had to have some discipline to be you know, playing sports and going to school and doing all that stuff at the same time. And it makes you grow up pretty fast, that’s for sure. Yeah, And I want to back it up you know, so for everybody out there, I’m just gonna blurt it out. You know, we’ve known each other a long time. You come from somewhat of a famous family. You’ve got your name splattered all over the country, and I’m not sure if you’ve gone outside of the States or not. But and now you are now the co president or you’re the president. I’m sure how you say that of north Stroms, you and your brother I’m president of Yeah, and it’s it’s it’s an outstanding achievement. But you know, I think, to me, what’s more impressive? And this is kind of what has gone I remember, you know again, let’s go back to night and refreshmen. And there you are and the only outfit that you had. And you know, again, you’re coming from a retailer that you’ve got every big brand that’s out there, and you can you can wear whatever you want to wear. And you’re walking down the street every single day in your jeane jacket, your white shirt, your five o one jeans, and some white tennis shoes. That that was your outfit every single day. And I remember that stood out because that was and by the way, your brother Blake was doing the same thing. And yeah, you know it’s funny. I remember pretty clearly. Uh detl of Shrimp, who you know, is on the Husky basketball team and you know, the best player there. It used to drive him crazy, he would because he really liked clothes. He said, why why aren’t you wearing like cooler clothes than this, Like you could get whatever you want. Like, I don’t know. I mean, you know, I’m just trying to fit in a regular guy. I’m not trying to stand out by what I’m wearing. But that that was I don’t know, I was. I wasn’t using clothes as a real way to express my individuality. Individuality in those days. Um, you know, I think you know what it’s like when you’re in school. I mean, a big part of you just want to fit in and you want to just you know, like everybody else. Well, I mean again, you do, and that’s from your perspective, but there’s always two perspectives, one coming in out and the other one is out in. And so there’s a lot of people. You know, I was on the football team, and I was I was wearing the same thing you’re wearing too. But I was just like, oh, there’s you know, what’s his name, you know, walking down the street and he’s got you know, he’s just wearing the same thing I’m warring, which you know, it was really cool. But I think, you know, the thing that was interesting and and and I think the foundational piece that your dad, Bruce, who is president UM, took over for your grandfather, I think back in the back of the day of the sixties, and and it just seemed like there was this humility that he taught your you, yourself and your the two brothers. Is number one. Uh. Number two is is he created a foundation where none of the stuff is gonna be handed to you. Guys. If you want to be part of this thing, we’re gonna start you at the bottom and you’re gonna learn every single facet of this business. And I think he may have started back when you’re like twelve in the stock room or something. I’m not sure exactly what it is that was, but you know, I think again it all played back to you’re not going to be this entitled little brat walking around the campus thinking that you own everything. You’re gonna work hard, probably harder than than anybody else. You’re gonna learn every little piece of this business. Yeah, but it’s It’s also true that it was never part of some grand plan that, um, we were going to be on that track and it was preordained that we were gonna work here. I mean to be quite honest, and even you know we were together in college. To me, me working at Norston during the summer was not so much about an apprenticeship for me someday being North you know, President North from It was more just about I needed to have a summer job. This is a job. I could get a pretty good summer job, and we’ll see where it’s all gonna go. Because you know what it’s like when you’re younger, and I would imagine it was true for you, particularly when I was, you know, thirteen years old or something. I mean, it wasn’t in my mind that I would wanted to be a retailer. I wanted to be a professional basketball players. I mean, I think that’s what most kids think about in these really kind of grand ways, the most aspirational view of what they could do. Um, but then your reality kind of comes down and you get a bunch clearer view of what’s possible and it But it really wasn’t until I was maybe a junior or so in college, who I thought, maybe this is what I’m gonna do because I don’t know if you remember, but I coached the JV team for two years once I was done playing, so I thought, well, maybe I’ll get into coaching or something. But after a while, it’s I understood what the opportunity was like for me at Nordman. And to your point, there was no entitlement program for us, but if the opportunity was there, if we were willing to do it and work hard at it, and that that was made abundantly clear from day one that it was good. You know, it was not an entitlement program. Yeah, And and I think that really runs through because there was a number of brothers, you know, going back through’s your grandfather, and then when you get into your dad, he’s got some different brothers. And and at that at that level of that time, back in the sixties, there’s several brothers that are in there, and then each one has kids. So now you’ve got all these you know, you’ve got a bunch of cousins on your end that like who’s gonna run what and do this and do that? On buddies with dan Ors from and you know, I know he was with dot com for a while and help start that. But it’s just like, you know, at the end of the day, it seemed like the most natural fit from the trajectory was going to be your older brother Blake, yourself and your younger brother Eric. By the way, we were on the same basketball team when I was living up with all the guys Muscatel and Ruin. Um. But anyways, that it just seemed like that was going to be the right piece of the puzzle to take you guys to the next to the next level after going public in the next one and then you guys coming in and the two thousands and really taken the helm to the next level. Yeah, well, I mean as as I think you know, Um, there were more of us in those early days. There were six of us in our generation that we’re working here at all, of a pretty similar age. You know. You mentioned my cousin Dan and his brother Bill, and like there’s you know, they’re here. We were we were doing our thing, um, and we worked in a parallel track for several years, UM. And then to your point, when it got into like two thousand, then it diverge a little bit, and I think people had a real sense of what they wanted to do and accomplished individually. And you know, maybe in some regards Eric and Blake myself for the last one standing in our generation, I don’t know, but everyone else kind of made their own decisions and um we just you know, we stuck with it and then got the opportunity to lead the company and it was it’s been really an amazing right. It’s hard for me to believe, you know that, you know how long ago that was, but I mean it’s literally been about about twenty five years where we’ve been in a you know, at the top of leadership position in the company to some degree. Yeah, so let’s talk about that for a minute. So so another guy that I remember from college, he was a couple of years older than me and good buddies with Bob Schwartz was your older brother, Blake, and and um uh. In the first thing, I want to just address what happened in two nineteen, he tragically, I think it was fifteen years old, passes away, just like out of the blue, right insane, and it kind of like this thing was diagnosed and wasn’t feeling all that great. Flies back from my family trip and then like within a week he was gone, and the kind of the shock. And I remember I was living in some valley at the time, and I remember that the memorial it was so grand that they actually I think had it in the pavilion, which is the Houskey Pavilion Washington. And you know, again, the name of the show is called Funning or something all about people who are comniversity and finding their way and and and and funning or something as very metaphorical as you mentioned, you know, at the beginning of the show. And so to have somebody because I know you guys had lunch every day together. I mean not literally every day together, but when you guys were all in the same building, you you’d be there. You guys were all tight. Um, you’re all three running in the leadership, a high leadership position. Your brother was the CEO, and then he passes away. I mean, how did you deal with that? Yeah? Yeah, that was rough. Um, I mean just obviously on a personal level, and it’s not unique. We get to our age and everyone’s had these kind of issues. No one’s immune from loss, and but yeah, that was that was really rough. And you know, obviously on that personal level, was but just in the way that we were because the three of us, while we had our different responsibilities here, we were essentially equals and peerers and operated as a team, which you know, can be a difficult situation um to operate as equals in a team, but it worked for us because we’re brothers and we trusted each other and we weren’t really in competition with each other. So that and everyone and I think we all recognized we brought something different to the party and as a collection of the three of us, we were stronger and better than any one of us individually, and so we never took that for granted, and it worked well. And so yeah, I mean, when you remove one of the legs of a three legged stool, and you know, it makes it a lot different. So it’s I mean, even to this day, it feels like we’re still trying to get used to what that’s all about. And uh, you know, in so many ways, I really miss, you know, the thing I would say about as much as I really enjoyed working with them and stuff, I mean, above all else, he was a great brother and I’m missing more as a brother than anything else. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense, And I want to I want to just share just a quick anecdote that that happened. So I’m in some valley and this is literally in um, like two months before he passed. And and he’s walking down the street. And you know, some valley is very small. We have a recount of people, right, And it was kind of just during an odd time of the year we called slack season. And he’s walking down the street going into this kind of famous bar that we have at a restaurant bar called the Pioneer. Calls at the Pilot and as a and as as he’s approaching, and I’m exiting, and I think I had some to go food or something, and hey, Markable, how you doing a great, great great And and so I said, hey, um, I just really quickly my daughter Clidette, who is now six at the time. This is probably whenever it was two thousand nine m and I go, she’s she’s looking for some independent whatever, some some thing that was connected to North Strooms. I can’t even remember what it was. But she was hoping that she could get an opportunity to to be connected in that in some way. And and and he goes, well, I’ll tell you what. Send me an email next week and you know, I do what I can for you. I go great, So I do I follow up And you know, he didn’t have to pay attention to number one me and certainly not my daughter. And this was so just so insignificant in terms of the big picture of doing anything for this this this person, my daughter coming out of USC right. It just and and I like, I can only imagine the head of the public company of North Shroms. And yet here he is helping my daughter. And he did help her, and he got her that job, and he had the people whoever you know, connect with her and it all worked out. And you know, it was something that lasted for twelve months or whatever, but it was just a it was like a random act of kindness, you know, that so insignificant that at the same time it was super significant for her and her life and the trajectory that she was going on. And so I just wanted to share that with you really quickly because it meant so much to her, especially what happened three months later. It’s just like I can’t believe, you know, he actually, yeah, did that for somebody when he really didn’t have to. And I wouldn’t have thought twice about it same time. Yeah, well, you know, I don’t know how well you knew Blake. I’m certainly you knew him, probably best through a lot of other people you knew very well, and you mentioned that a little bit. But what you said there didn’t surprise me at all. And and it’s been remarkable the amount of people that have had some kind of story about him that’s been revealed since he passed away. And so it’s horrible and someone you love passed away. But what’s been really amazing is are all these stories that come from a very sincere and authentic place describing a version of what basically you said. It’s like he really kind of extended itself in a way that I was more than I maybe would have expected. And I was so ap appreciate that. And it seems like a nice guy. So I mean, I’m telling you, I heard from people he went to grade school with. I heard from customers, I heard from you know, you name, it from all kinds of people that had their own story and in their own way they had a connection and with Blake, and it was what he was just so remarkably good at was finding a way to have a personal connection with people that made people feel good. And it wasn’t it wasn’t a gimmick, and it wasn’t a show. It came from a very authentic place. Again, so it doesn’t surprise me at all what you said he did, because he did that all the time, and he loved that stuff and I think he loved he loved being of service. And one of the things that we did, um, when when he died, it was we actually created a new stated value of our company that’s to extend yourself. Because that was his whole thing. Uh, And he used to talk about that, to extend yourself, And it fits so much, I think with the culture of what our company aspires to be, and that’s if we’re doing our job right, we extend ourselves to customers, we extend ourselves to each other and as a result, you get the best of what people have to offer and it makes for a successful business. And so it’s we’ve embraced that as a as a culture, as a remember for him, um, But it’s amazing just that you know, this is just another example how it plays out in real life all the time. I want to bring up one more quick story, and this is about your dad Bruce. So your dad, of course was running Norse from for many year along with his brothers, and and he had his place. And I am a member of Sallow Golf Club, and your dad has been a member out there forever, right, and I’ve been out there but twenty five years. Although I’m their favorite memoriks, I never golf there. Well, you know, I said all the time, I’m a member too. I think a member of the year because I never called there either. Yeah, yeah, so you and I should go out in golf sometimes we should. They freaked out if they saw us there, I’m sure. Well, yeah, they had asked for a number and everything else. But it’s something, a little fact to it that you don’t know. Is my dad was a Beta that had joined down at Oregon State. And my dad passed away about seven eight years ago of a massive stroke. It was awful, but but your dad used to well, so let me continue with that. Some of my dad for a quarter or two had come up to the University Washington to take some classes for some reason and needed a place to live, and so he ended up rooming with your dad at the Beta house. Really true story. Wow, I’ve never shared this with that. Yeah, and so here’s a cool thing. Every single time. Again, your dad didn’t need to talk to me, not at all, but every single time, every single time we ran into him. I ran into him at selling golf club when I was living in Seattle, he would say, Mark, please tell your dad. I said hi. And by the way, he’s probably one of my favorite guys I’ve ever been around, always happy, you know, thinking about somebody else. Just all the things that you want to hear about your dad. And your dad said that to me, and just you know, just have that presence of mind to offer that compliment about my dad, who has since passed. Yeah, well it’s really nice. I appreciate that. I mean, I guess what this all speaks to. And what you know is I have a nice family. And not everyone gets dealt that hand. You know, you don’t get to choose your family, right, but I’ve it’s It’s one of the things I feel super grateful for, and it’s one of the reasons I decided to work here. I think a lot of people feel like I need to go do my own thing, I need to run away from that kind of family situation. I felt the opposite. I like my family I like the idea of working with them. It was appealing to me. Yeah, so I want to take it, you know. Yeah. Yeah. So let’s take a slight pivot for a second, and I want to ask you about the pandemic and in the retail right just because you and I can’t even imagine how you guys weathered the storm and maybe your your online business, you know, shut up or something, but just that happened to all of us, infected the whole planet. And by the way, I was supposed to go off and climb ever, and not that it’s insignificant in terms of what I’m about to ask you, but you know I couldn’t go why because the plane shut down in the the country shut down, and the mountain shut down, I mean, everything shut down. And here you are running this huge retailing company and now it’s just like, what are the rules? What are the new rules of the game? Uh? And I know it’s kind of shifting back now by the time, like it seemed like every single day was exponentially. We’re starting in March, and you know, people have done We didn’t have a vaccine, you can’t go out, and restaurants are shutting. So how did you guys handle that. How long do we have I don’t know that’s I mean, because it’s still ongoing to a certain degree. But there’s a couple of things that I think about there. First of all, there’s nothing that we sell that people need. We sell things people want, and so when you get to do an existential kind of time like a pandemic and stuff, it makes what we do just not top of mind for people. And so while there were a lot of retailers that did well during the pandemic, they were more kind of what you would call as essential retailers, and we weren’t one of those people. Everything that we carry his elective And if you think about it, most of what we sell, or a lot of what people think about for us is I love Northston. For you know, a moment that matters, a high stakes occasion. I’m going to a adding, I’m getting married, I’ve got a job interview, I’m going on to day or whatever. And when you remove all those social kind of events for people, you can only imagine that put a big damper on what it is that we do. And we still sold a lot of stuff because you know, we sell casual clothes and what have you, but I mean we didn’t sell enough casual clothes to make up for all the other business we weren’t doing, so immediately we got thrust into just an existential crisis of I mean, look at I mean, stores were closed, We’re doing a lot less business. You know, we’ve got seventy thousand employees, were a public company. You know, we had to make money here, and we had to lay off a lot of people. I mean, it was it was rough. I mean, the only thing that wasn’t that tough about it is you weren’t left with a lot of choices. We had to make hard decisions. It wasn’t like, oh, I don’t know what to do. I mean, you know, and I’m sure you’ve you’ve had your own experience of that too. When you when it’s really on the line, it brings a lot of clarity and you have to make decisions. So that we did that, and I think we made good decisions to survive through those tough times. But I think what’s still ongoing is that just everything about our industry, in our business is hard, and part of that is because we’re in a retail business that’s going through a lot of transformation with the way that internet has to do with it. You know, we do a big online business and all that, but just the whole way that retailers and customers all interact is really evolved and change quite a bit. And so just the tactical way that we do our job is so much different than even what my dad’s generation did. So from that point of view, it’s been interesting academically because it’s been different and it’s been challenging, and it creates it requires creativity and innovation and collaboration and all kinds of fun stuff. But on the flip side is, man, we sure could have picked something easier to do. It’s not very easy, but around you know, we just keep back along doing our thing. Well, you weathered it and the gallon with I’ve been with her for quite some time and she started her career um down in north Stroms at the South Coast Plaza in California, is that right? Yeah, And so in the cosmetics or something, and she was I was asking, I was telling her that we were going to talk, and she was just saying, you know, the thing that was so awesome and incredible about North Room still today and that particular location is amazing, is just the experience that you get when you walk in, you know, with your restaurant and customer service. So you like you said, when the pandemic gets all of a sudden, that that that experience you know, for for everything you do. When we all had to stay home, it goes out the window. So how do you replace it? And that’s what you guys have had the weather through and where you where you sit today. So it’s it’s been really interesting and you know the effects in a macro point point of viewers are still there and they’re not necessarily pandemic related, but it’s just how I mean, you know, like global supply chain things were impacted, and you know, things that we would really take for granted our business, the logistics of our business. Uh, it became an early a strategic level and such a a critical element and being able to execute the business particularly feel like you know, storage are closed and your ercent rely on the online business. Like man, We’ve we’ve learned a ton, So I mean, I guess the silver lining of all of that is haven’t gone through a lot of challenges. We’ve learned a lot, and I think it sets us up well for the future. I hope that I hope that’s the case. Yeah, I know. I think you guys weathered and you know, at the end of the day, the experience are still there. So kudus to that. And you know, for everybody in the world, um, you know, trying to get back. It’s weird to be isolated, especially when you’re a social person. And now we were just talking about the University Washington Huskies played tonight against Oregon State and when the stadiums were empty. Now fans are coming back, and so there’s there’s a lot of reover on that. I want to take another pivot. Um My daughter Emilia, as we as I talked about at the opening of the show, has epilepsy. She’s had daily Caesar since she was eight. She’s twenty four. Now you can imagine that. Um. We in the past year and a half, she’s got things a little bit more under control, and so that has been a huge win. But I want to turn that to the experience that you had, because what what came out of for me is we started I had to dig in and dig in and dig in and learn more about it and the reasons than why is and everything else, which led to the Epilepsy Foundation which led to us raising a whole lot of money in the NFL, throwing money in and doing all kinds of stuff and creating this campaign. Your son was born with a heart condition, and I watched this very touching video with you and your wife and you’re just discussed. I mean I saw your son. I mean it’s just like it was like I almost brought me to tears just seeing forty tubes in him and he’s three months old or whatever he was. What was that like? I mean, like we all you’re never thinking that way, and all of a sudden, you’re again. We were talking about Blake a few minutes ago, but now we’re talking about your son, and especially so helpless because he was so small and he’s got this hard condition. Yeah. Well, I mean I don’t need to tell you. I mean you’re living through your own version of that stuff we know with your kid, and that that brings things priorities and into sharp and clear focus when it’s your your kid um and for us, look at I mean, no one expects to have that doctor’s visit when your wife’s pregnant and we’re gonna go to listen to the heartbeat and you know it’s an exciting time and when they tell you like I think there’s a problem, I’m you know that that’s a whole new reality and just everything really shifted in that moment and trying to figure out, you know, my wife’s health and going through this pregnancy as our kid can make it, what does this mean you know when he’s born, like what needs to happen? And you know, I guess at the end of it, what I would say is just we’re super grateful that Seattle Children’s Hospital, which you know a lot about. Um, it’s such a great community asset and if if if not for them, and you know the amazing work they do, I mean, our son literally wouldn’t have survived. And so you know, to have open art surgery when you’re three months old, I mean that’s a risky proposition. And at what you didn’t mention is that heart condition is symptomatic of a broader issue that he experienced, and he has a genetic or disorder called twenty two Q which he has a partial deletion of the twenty two chromosome. And that’s not a super widely known thing, but it’s actually happens to a fair amount of people that the issue is there’s I don’t know, there’s like a hundred eighty different symptoms you can have. No one has a hundred eight but no, but no one has like just one. I mean they have some range of them. And for our son, you know, the heart thing was one of the symptoms and he got a he got dealt a bad hand on that part of it. You’re luckily he’s done pretty well on the the other parts of it. But I mean it manifests itself and all kinds of different things that that can be wrong. Um, but yeah, that we you know, we all of a sudden we’re you know, looking on the internet like what the heck is Tony two Q And you know, what does this mean about our our kid? And really putting you know a lot of confidence and trust in medical professionals because you know, hoping that they know and really counting on people. And and that’s all worked out really well for us and our our sons doing well. And um, you know, just a little kid doing his things, ten years old, going to school and it’s just really a sweet, uh little boy and not such a little boy anymore. But um, anyway, it’s just I guess my reflection on all of that is I just feel super grateful, um to be in a position where that it’s all gone well and we we were able to do whatever we could help, you know, give him the care he needed. Well, that brings up another point. I think it’s a related point. Um, So great news on your son, But what you discovered through this is the uncompensated care, I think, And I don’t know if you’ve done something about that, or is this a realization of you happen to be in the position, you and your wife in a position where your son needed immediate medical attention and you could service that and pay your bills. And there’s other people out there that aren’t as fortunate as Pete Norstrom is, and so they struggle with They’ve got this as serious condition, but they can’t pay for the bills, and so how do you go about that? I don’t know, is there there something more to that story it’s just or that’s well. I think it was. It was one of the things that we noticed were actually talked about this yesterday, is our son spent I think in the first four months of his life, he spent six weeks or more. It’s all Children’s hospital. More than that. Quite a bit, and you know, a lot of that time it was intensive care and all that stuff. And you know, you go there every day and you’re visiting your son and and you start seeing the youre noticing the other families around there, and you know you’re not in this by yourself, and there’s a lot of other families going through their own thing too. And the thing that we noticed was, regardless of means, the hospital was taking great care of all these people. We knew we were going to get well treated. I mean, to your point, we can afford it. Um we’re affluent or privileged in all these ways. I mean, even like when you go into the day surgery part of the children’s hospital, my mom’s pictures hanging on the wall there. My mom was a volunteer at Children’s Hospital and they named that thing after her. So, I mean, know, people know who we are, they’re inclined to want to take care of us. That was all great, and we got wonderful care. Forever grateful for that. But when we saw the community asset of what this place is, people regardless of means, are gonna come in and they don’t turn any cant away. If even if the parents can’t afford it. So as a result of that, they need to raise money for this Uncompensated Care Fund because as you know, these medical treatments are not cheap and um you know, it’s it’s devastating the family. It’s hard enough to go through the emotional uh drama of and strain of you know, having your kid be sick, but I mean to actually have then the other part of it, it’s creating a big economic peril, you know, for all kinds of families. It’s really rough. And so we said when we were gotten through that says we want to do something to help pay it forward there and to um I just you know, helped Celts Hospital continue to do the good work they do. And so we created a charitable event that donates directly to the Uncompensated Care Fund, and my my wife and I underwrite the thing. So any ticket that anyone buyas to our event, and any money we get from a sponsor, and any money that comes in for anything really that’s caused a hundred percent of it goes to the Uncompensated Care Fund. It’s c l Chi’s Hospital. And I’m really proud to say, you don’t have ten years of doing this. We’ve raised twenty eight million dollars there for that, and you know, look a lot of that’s because I’ve have a super generous and nice family that’s contributed a lot of money that. But we we’ve also hosted an annual event where um we bring in different bands and stuff to perform and and people buy tickets to that, and we haven’t raised the paddle thing and and it’s been really great and I know the hospital appreciates it, and it makes us feel good that we can do something. And just to know that you’re helping another family and need is is really an awesome feeling. Yeah. I mean this gets into the unintended UM. I don’t know what the word is, but it’s just that you know, like you’re you’re going because you’ve got this this mission critical crisis with your son, and what comes out of it is raising twenty million dollars, you know, and helping out these other people because and that’s that again falls into this whole theme of overcoming adversity and finding your way. Sometimes it’s not your adversity, although indirectly it is, but then you know how you can turn around and help the next person a line, and that’s kind of what you’re talking about. That’s happened. Um, let’s talk about something that’s fun, um and that is and I remember calling way back. I think I saw you first, uh down in Madison Park playing to retailers. Yeah, yeah, I can. I’m spacing right now in the name of that that bar. But and you guys were great and you you was just like like if if if I were to picture close my eyes and picture Pete and urs from like there’s a lot of things that can picture at sporting events, you playing basketball, you doing your Nortions thing. But I think you played bass, um, you know, in this band, and you guys were damn good. And and and here’s the here’s the best part about it. I think you still have continued with the same band with I don’t know if it’s the same guys, and it’s kind of gone from the retailers. I don’t know if Stag is your new band, but but that is my current band. Yes, that’s correct. Yeah, And so tell me more about that, like what’s your love of music. And a lot of people, you know, creative differences or you just burn out, you don’t want to do it, and that it up. But you’ve kept with that all these years. Wow. Well, yeah, it’s been a really joyful part of my life and something I really enjoyed. A lot of it has to do it has really nothing to do with work or anything else, and it’s it’s got its own creative part to it. And uh, it’s just nice to be able to really sink your teeth into something that’s different and that brings you a lot of personal satisfaction. But you know, it’s funny you mentioned the music thing. The fact that I’m able to do it still do it um and really enjoy It’s I’m sure you probably get some of this to people are asking about sports, and like you, because I’m tall, it comes up all the time people say, oh, do you play basketball? Well, I’m sixty. I mean, I wish I could still play basketball, but I don’t or like and I don’t even get asked things like can you dunk a basketball? I said, no, not anymore, like like how many six year old guys anywhere in the world can dunk a basketball? Like none? And so I really miss being a part of a team and I missed that kind of you know, being able to immerse yourself in something like sports, which you know gets it does so many good things for you in terms of the competitive stuff, and you know how to direct your energy. And so while I can’t do that stuff anymore, I can I can be in a band because you know, you don’t have to move laterally very fast. Um. So it’s been really fun, and it’s it’s it’s hard to get adults, you know, our age to get together, do anything, to have the time do because people are busy lives and what have you. So whether it’s like being on a softball team or playing cards or going for a walk or playing in a band, I mean, it’s it’s hard to do and so for us. For me, Um, I played a band and the guys that are in my band they’re all my friends. Um, they didn’t, it didn’t all necessarily start out that way, but it’s it’s worked out that way. We like each other, it’s and we’re able to do it at a pretty high level. The guys in my band are good and I learned this from sports too. You want to be on a team with people that are better than you, and all my guys in my band are better than me. So it means I’m in a good band, which I’m not happy to be a part of UM, but it’s been it’s been really fun to be able to do and we’re still active and at it. You know, we had three shows we played this summer. We’ve recorded a bunch of records over the years, and we practiced it and I’ve tried to get in one practice a week and it’s it’s a night of the week I really look forward to. It’s going to drink a beer in a practice space and play some loud music and it’s pretty fun. Yeah. I was when I was living in Seattle. I played a violin and a guitar, and so I was in a really bad band. Like you were talking about find guys better than you, I was with guys worse than me. So you don’t want to do that. That’s you know, I learned the hard way. But you know, anyways, the beer thing all happened, the practicing happened, and it was this this great fellowship you get together, like you said, as scheduled event where we could all come together your interest in sports. I just want to go back to that as a final loop. UM, I know that you’re apart with a bunch of buddies coming friends of ours, um trying to bring the Sonics back and and so that’s part A. Part B is I’m not sure if you’re part of any of the group that brought in the new hockey team, the Cracking, but it’s just so important to the fabric of Seattle, of the sports community. You did north from family. I’m not sure if you’re part of that that trust that owned for for a spell the Seahawks. And you know, you guys seem like have dipped in and dipped out of the sports scene. But but what how has that driven you are or allowed you to feel like you’re kind of back in the game a little bit. Yeah, I love sports And as you mentioned, uh, my dad’s generation uh were the as a group of as a family with the majority owners of the Seahawks when they were founded and came to town. They owned that team for I was like fifteen years until they sold it. UM and that was a great experience for them. That nothing to me. And I was a teenager and the thing for me is I got to go to football games and eat free hot dogs. So I mean it was pretty good at being attached from that point of view, But I had nothing to do with that. Uh, other than just kind of be a fan to get to tag along a little bit. But yeah, I was a part owner. I was a minority owner of the Sonics when Howard Schultz was the owner, and which is going to probably make some people mad because as people from Seattle, no, our ownership group was the group that sold the team to Clay Bennett and so the team ended up moving to Oklahoma City. And it’s it’s a super regrettable chapter in my life. And I think I could speak for you know, our ownership group was kind of crazy. It’s like fifty nine people. I mean, Howard was the leader, but it was there were a lot of minority owners. And I must tell you I owned I think the smallest percentage of anybody. But I got to be on the board or like nine of us on the board, and Howard asked me to be part of it. So I was in the middle of all the that, and you know, at the at the front row seat for the decisions that were made. When have you and you know for reasons. We can get into it if you want to, but I mean, you know, the vote was cast amongst the nine of us, and it was a majority vote to sell the team or not. And I can tell you that I was in the minority of voting no. It was four to five. Four of us voted no, and I was one of them. And and to be fair, it wasn’t because I had a clear view of how we could have turned it around and made money and be more successful the economic model that at that time existed for the Sonics. So it just was not gonna work. And that’s that was really the catalysts were kind of felt like we had to sell it so anyway horrible, like the team leaves and it’s awful, and it’s bad if you’re a fan, and it’s worse if you feel like you’re attached to it, and you’re to blame for that in some way. So Wally wah Sucker, who I think you know as part of that um group, and so he got together this guy Chris Hansen, who was a Roosevelt guy. You know Chris. Now you know a lot of people have asked me that and I do not know Chris. I should know, Chris, but you should, you know what, honestly, and we can outfline. We can do this. I’ll get his content each interview him. He’s a super interesting guy and really successful guy. But anyway, he he said, I want to bring the Sonics back to Seattle. And so he asked if I’d be interested. He and Wally asked to be interesting. And I said, well, I mean yeah, but I don’t have enough money. I mean, you know pro sports teams. I’m I mean, it’s a crazy expense, I said, I don’t have nobody to do that. I said, he goes, look at I don’t need your money as much as no one knows who I am, but people know your name in that town. And if you’re attached to this thing, I think it gives us some recognition and some credibility. And I said, well, yeah, I think my brother Eric might want to be involved too. So it’s been Wally and and Eric and me and Chris Hans and then you know, Steve Ballmer was part of our group until such time he bought the l A Clippers and so you know, you can’t own two teams, and so so he’s not in our group anymore, but he’s the owner of the Clippers. And uh So, anyway, our our thing was, well, let’s see if we can get an arena space to be able to get a team back because that at that time, the key arena solution wasn’t gonna work economically, you know, being a tenant and paying money to the city. And even now with climate Pledge, it’s still a version of the same thing. I mean, I think you noticed this in pro sports. Almost every owner of a pro sports team, and like basketball, baseball, football, they’re trying to get their own arena as well as on the team so they make money in a three sixty way, they can control their deal. They’re not just a tenant paying rent. You know, that’s a tough way to go. So our deal was, let’s let’s amass some property in the stadium district, you know, and by where the Seahawks player, where the Mariners play, and and get a plan to be able to build a stadium. And we did that and currently mean, and I don’t know, it’s something like a thirteen acres down there, just south of Team Mobile Park, you know, where the Mariners play, and it’s contiguous, and we could do it. We got the space and we own this property, and so now it’s just a matter of can we get a team. And I think the good news for Seattle it’s like, oh no, I mean, but we have Climate Pledge, and we have that, and that might screw it all up. I think we view it exactly opposite. We view it as like, why not give as many choices as possible to actually make it come true. So whether someone ends up buying a team and wants to work with our our plan or wants to go be part of Climate Pledge, I mean that that’s up to them. But at least there are choices here, and so I think it’s one of the things that’s going to enable it to happen at certain point. So it’s a long I’m sorry it’s a long answer to your question, but yes, I am engaged in part of that group with Chris about building arena, potentially attracting a team to Seattle and whatever way we can and look at it. At the end of the day, it doesn’t come to our place and it goes to Climate Pledge. Right, that’s great, I mean goal accomplished. Let’s just get a team back here. And that that’s the way we’re we’re viewing it. Yeah, and then that’s the right way to look at it, right, because Seattle as a community was was stripped again not your fault, but but and then that’s that was. That’s not my intent of the question. It’s just really about what happened. Happened. It is what it is. And so now they’re down in Oklahoma and and our goal and we, by the way almost I think we were very close to that whole Sacramental deal until very closely. I was part of that with Chris. I mean, we made an offer at and we thought we had it, but the ownership group had to vote for it at the end of the day. I think they were really reluctant to move another team, and a lot of that was the way that created the Seattle situation. Like it’s just it’s just gut wrenching for a city and it really creates a lot of bad feelings when you move a team out of the city. And so I think the league super reluctant to move in other teams, so that that worked against us. Yeah. And if my memory shows me, right, old a s U guy and in pretty good pro um uh Kevin Johnson or something might have been the mayor’s town. Kevin john played a cow. Didn’t played account no, no, no, he played the count. Yeah, you’re right, and but but that he got so so you know, bottom line, is Seattle needs an NBA. It’s a major city. You know, you’ve got three of the four sports up there. Now you need the final wheel and and everything is gonna be good. And I think you you see it in the right way with whether it’s with your group or up at the Climate Pledge, which is up the street. Um, it’s it’s gonna be a win of the city can benefit from having a professional basketball team in that in that area. Yeah, I mean it’s right. I think about you know, because we’re the same agent, think about what a big deal was when the Sonics when the championship in the late seventies. It was a huge stinking deal. And what what sports can do for a community to bring people together. It’s really powerful. It’s great and if if we could be a catalyst for something like that to happen, that would that would be great for all. I remember, well, and it’s you know, it’s cool for me. I mean, you know these guys too, but it’s cool for me to go back and I think that might have been seventy nine when we won the championship, had to be a parade going downtown. And now you know, I’ve become pals with sick man. You know, he was the star on the team, and I’m sure you know a lot of those other guys too, but um, it was just a fun thing to do. So listen, I’ve taken your time and I appreciate it. But you know, it’s so great to get caught up with you again, you know, and again at the end of the day, I feel like we’re freshmen. And I wish we would have a virtual beer, like going back and forth this conversation, and we’ll have to do that with him, and we did have a real beer. I’m well, I’m game for that. We will do that for sure, to look and I really appreciate you asking me, Mark, And it’s great to get reconnected with you. And I want to congratulate you for what you’ve accomplished, the stuff, and I’ve watched documentary and I’ve I’ve learned about your story and obviously I’ve known about you because we’re friends from Afar. What you’ve accomplished, and I just I’m proud of you, and I think it’s great you know what you’re doing there and all that you’ve accomplished, the success you we’ve had, So congratulations to you. Thank you. I think it’s two sixty year old. We’re trying to accelerate versus slow down, and that’s the only way to me to live, to live. That’s all right, all right, buddy. Thank you so much. Everyone, there is the one, the only, Pete Nordstrom. Thank you. Thanks Mark.
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