Quarterly earnings, SEC filings, insurance, analysts' meetings, depreciation.

Sigh. So much business. So many poop emojis.

Those specific icons have a fan in Joel D. Anderson, 52, chief executive of Five Below Inc.

Why? How about a smiley emoji for lots of dollars?

Because, Anderson said, every product with the poop emoji design (it looks more chocolate soft-serve ice cream) is flying out of the stores for the holiday season.

"Emoji are really hot right now," he said.

"Man, we are right on trend with the big guys like Apple."

Five Below has been expanding so rapidly. When you visit a store, how do you tell how it's doing?

You know the biggest way you can tell? Do the associates run from you or to you? When they avoid me, then I know the store is not run well, because they don't want me to ask any questions. They don't want me to find out what they're doing wrong, or what their manager is doing wrong. If they are running to you, you can tell they have pride in the store.

Five Below added 85 stores in 2016. Lots of growth.

If you look at where Five Below is today, the phase we're in now is about scale. [The founders] created an amazing concept, and we're only 14 years old. So to get to over 500 stores in 14 years is incredible.


Scale, to me, is a three-legged stool: People, systems, and infrastructure. So, on the infrastructure side last year, we opened up a brand-new million-square-foot food-distribution center. Our old distribution centers were a couple hundred thousand square feet, no automation, very manual, which is what you do when you are an entrepreneur. You want to put in the least amount of capital possible. You don't know if the concept is going to make it.

We're beyond that. Now you've got to put in the infrastructure to handle it.

How about seasonal help?

We double our population for the holidays.

How would the new overtime regulations, if enacted, affect you? The rules say anyone earning below $47,476 a year is entitled to overtime, no matter what their duties.

I would be lying to you if I said we were pleased. I applaud what the idea was, but the reality is it was applied universally across the country.

$47,000 and change doesn't sound like much in New York and Philadelphia, but $47,000 in Mississippi is a great wage.

So, all our store managers are above that number in our metro areas, but in our rural areas they are not.

The only salaried person in our stores is the general manager, the store manager. Everyone else is hourly, so it has zero impact on them.

What about the $15-an-hour minimum wage?

That's the part I don't think the legislators understand. We're not Tiffany's. We're not selling something that's got hundreds of dollars of profit in it and now it's only going to have $98. Our mantra, our promise and commitment to the customers is everything is $1 to $5. So, I can't suddenly say, "OK, wages went up so now everything is $1 to $5.50."

How can you maintain those prices?

We used to buy a box of something, a pallet of something. Now we buy in container loads.

How do you find doing business in Philadelphia? How about participation in the business community?

I've seen nothing but positives in the last year. I got to know Mayor Nutter a little bit before he left office. He really leaned in. Mayor Kenney has just picked up right from there. There's a lot of energy.

I think the [chamber] needs to lean in harder on the businesses in getting them involved.

What do you mean?

Well, let's face it: No one from the chamber has called me. If there is a CEO round table, I don't know about it. So, I think somebody has to take on that initiative. Honestly, it's not going to start from us. I mean, I'm busy. I've got a 24/7 schedule. But, at the same time, this is our home.

It's hard to lose a child. Your daughter Elli passed away when she was 12.

I learned more from Elli than anyone I have ever known. She taught me so much on how to worry on what really matters and not get worked up on the little things.

Interview questions and answers have been edited for space.