Joe Jansen, founder, owner and president of Goody Goody Liquors Inc. in Dallas, TX, credits a pair of sage mentors who served him well throughout his career as he traveled a long and decidedly American road to success: trial and error.
Joe Jansen (right), president of Goody Goody Liquors, is in the process of transitioning the running of the operation to his son Scott (left), vice president of the nine-store chain. PHOTOGRAPHY BY MIKE MORGAN
By studying hard, starting from scratch, working two jobs, saving his pennies, investing wisely, burning the midnight oil and holding customer service and value as his highest ideals, Jansen has carved a Horatio Alger success story that few in the industry can match — as evidenced by its $100 million in annual revenue.
And the story continues. The company he has built over more than four decades faces opportunities and challenges as it approaches a half century: a transition to a new generation of leadership, his son, vice president Scott Jansen; the building of a bright young management team; the expansion of its geographic base as well as its wholesale business; and ongoing incursions into its business by competitors large and small.
Goody Goody was built on a foundation of business savvy and good old hard work.
While working toward an MBA at The University of East Texas in 1962, Jansen wrote a research report on small business. He had always wanted to own his own business, he recalled, and while working on the report he uncovered some dramatic information: that retail liquor had the lowest failure rate of any business that starts from scratch. The search for a career got easier.
The Addison store (above and right), just north of Dallas,
When he and wife Mary Jane graduated from college they moved to Dallas, got jobs, and found an apartment that was “real cheap. We wrote a check every week for $35 for gas, groceries and cigarettes, and banked everything else.”
Jansen went to work in State Farm Insurance’s management training program straight out of college, then took a position as a supervisor in its Fire Claims department in Dallas. He recalled the frenetic pace of life in those days. The couple “saved every penny,” and in six or eight months bought their first store: a 15-ft.-by-50-ft. retail shop on lower Greenville Avenue in Dallas.
“My wife also had a full-time job,” he recalled. “We had one car — we were still real close to the vest there — and we had the little store, which didn’t make that much money. We hired a clerk. I would drop her off to work in the morning, then drive out to State Farm, which was way out in north Dallas. I’d get off at 4:30 or 5 o’clock, drive back, pick her up, then go down to the store and work until 10 o’clock at night. When we got through, I stocked the beer box. We got home around 11, ate supper, got up at six the next day and did it again. We did that for quite a few years.”
The store had been called Goo Goo by its owner. Said Jansen, “The guy who owned it did neighborhood delivery. He gave it that stupid name because he wanted people to be able to remember it.” Adding the ‘dy’ to each of the Goo’s not only kept close to the familiar name, but saved the couple about $600 for new sign plates. “We always planned to change the name, but we grew up with it and never got a chance.”
In January 1964, Goody Goody moved to a 4,800-sq.-ft. one-time convenience store next door. That store is still operating today, one of nine. A tenth location is currently under construction, and is scheduled to open in the early summer next year.