I often tell the story of Ronald Read, the man who passed away at age 92 in Rhode Island and left his $8 million fortune to a local library and hospital. Read was a World War II veteran who served in North Africa, pumped gas and finally retired as a janitor from JCPenney in 1997.

Read had put together a stock portfolio that was all household names. One of his top positions was McCormick & Company (MKC), and that stock just so happened to be the “Stock of the Day” yesterday.

MKC rallied 8.5% on more than 3X the average volume yesterday after reporting earnings results that beat the Street driven by strong sales in the United States.

  • Americas: +22.25%
  • Europe, the Middle East and Africa: +1.5%
  • Asia/Pacific: +14.7%

One of the reasons sales popped in the Americas was the performance in the recently acquired food business from Reckitt Benckiser Group, which includes Frank’s RedHot sauce and French’s mustard. Management said, “Both our consumer and flavor solutions segments contributed to our constant currency sales growth of 16%. Growth in both segments was led by incremental sales from the Frank’s and French’s portfolio.”

I have to say, I have two bottles of Frank’s RedHot in my fridge at home but I don’t own this stock. In fact, I bet 99% of its consumers never even thought of buying it.

MKC has been a quiet winner for a long time, rallying to $114 from $30 at its meltdown bottom. Sometimes “boring” can be a pretty boring investment strategy, but mostly the chart is a reminder that even stodgy names will have their moments – sometimes even years-long moments – of rapid increases in valuation.

This gets back to something I talk about all the time: People know so much more about investment opportunities than they give themselves credit for. At the end of the day, you create the market. All you have to do is pick your head up and take in the world around you.

I always fondly speak about my mother, who was instrumental in helping me fall in love with the stock market. For instance, years ago she told me, “You’ve got to go to HomeGoods and buy your stuff there.” HomeGoods is part of TJX Companies (TJX), which also includes other well-known stores like TJ Maxx and Marshalls. It’s one of the more impressive retail stories out there right now, and as a result I do invest in it from time to time.

The same thing happened with Burlington Stores (BURL). I can thank my mom for turning me onto this store a long time ago.

My mother was one of the best “indirect” stock pickers I have ever known. She didn’t spend her time trying to pick stocks, but boy did she know where the next huge trend was going to show up.

The takeaway from this story is simply this: Keep your eyes open to what you and those around you like, and then invest in what you know.