Innovation

My sister sent me this photo, along with several others, so I’m not sure if she remembered the significance of this one in particular, but it reminded me of just how innovative my father was when it came to entrepreneurship. It was 1969 or perhaps 1970,  and Graham Jackson (below) entered into our lives.

During that time,  my dad owned Martin’s Cafeteria (Martin is my maiden name) which he started and grew to a very successful eating establishment. Regardless of the day, we had lines around the corner at every meal, but the busiest day by far was on Friday afternoons when people clamored from far and wide to come and enjoy their meal while watching the fashion show and listen to the famous Graham Jackson play the piano.

What makes this memory so special is that my dad never finished college, and he didn’t have a business degree, but he was whip smart and very creative as well as innovative and he knew how to attract and keep a crowd. He grew his business by presenting his product, “food” beautifully, preparing it with the best ingredients and making it taste delicious, delivering great customer service, offering fair prices, and then giving that extra special something that kept the customers coming back for more.  

If it was WEDNESDAY night, we had a theme, be it Western Night, Hawaii Night, or Pirate Night complete with a treasure chest filled with trinkets and coins for the kids to grab from. FRIDAYS of course was the fashion show. There were other offerings from time to time, and at this point I can’t really remember, but they were always major attractions and the customers loved them. Now in this day and time, these offerings may seem a little lame, but back then, it was quite innovative for the era, as none of the other cafeterias or restaurants for that matter, even came close to providing the exciting atmosphere that my dad did. I would like to think a little bit of that rubbed off on me.

So here’s to my dad, and his innovative thinking, and to all of us entrepreneurs who can benefit from employing innovation in our own businesses to keep them fresh and exciting.  

Below, the famous Chief Petty Officer Graham Jackson plays “Going Home” as FDR’s body is borne past in Warm Springs, GA, where the President was scheduled to attend a barbecue on the day he died. April, 1945.

It was an honor to know this wonderful man, who made me smile every time he came to our cafeteria on Friday afternoons and played the sweetest music you could ever hope to hear.

xo, jan