Mike Jones, co-owner with his brother Mitch of the Jones Red &White Food Stores
Wife, Vanessa. One daughter, Ashley; two sons, Drew and Austin, who are managers at the stores. Also two grandchildren.
A French bulldog named Izzie
4607 Habersham St. and 3310 Ogeechee Road in Savannah.
I grew up in the business. I was bagging groceries at 10 years old. My dad owned a grocery store in Pooler – an IGA store. We opened here (on Habersham Street) in August 1980. It was just a little community market with concentration on fresh meats and produce. When my father retired, my brother and I became co-owners in 2001. We started the second store (on Ogeechee Road) in 2011.
In addition to a heavy concentration on fresh meat and produce, we specialize in a smoked barbecue program called Smokerise. We sell fresh ribs, Boston butts, smoked chicken, brisket, Brunswick stew, macaroni, mashed potato and smoked collards and beans—It’s a grab-and-go meal concept.
years in business
We have 95 employees (25 part-time) at two markets.
why we’re successful
We just pay attention to detail. We’re here all the time. We’re able to deliver a consistently well-stocked, clean business.
The best time to do better is when you’re going good. (It’s easy to get complacent.)
Just the longevity of the business.
Of course, my family. And I have the pleasure of working with family all my professional life. We have the third generation in the stores.
We’re looking at doing some major renovations. At this location, we want to expand organics. And we want to concentrate more on ready-to-eat products and our in-store bakery. We make breads and sweet goods – fresh cookies and muffins. And we recently started a take-and-eat pizza program. It’s done well. The product is good.
tips for other business operators
The biggest is staying in your store. And don’t be complacent. Don’t be complacent about your success.
Also, you’ve got to be open to change. What worked five years ago doesn’t work now.
More people need ready-to-eat foods. The generation coming up now is cooking less.
things to avoid
Avoid the fear of making changes. Embrace it. Don’t run from it. Avoid the sky-is-falling mentality. Really avoid something that you’re not. We have a really diverse clientele. We sell chicken feet—and a $60 bottle of wine.
why the Savannah area works for us
We still have good old Southern roots, where people still cook. There’s not a lot of independent supermarkets in this city. Folks like the local shop atmosphere. They like that we’re in the store all the time and they can talk to us. And we have a lot of long-term employees. We’ve built relationships over the years.
Savannah has been good to us over the years. It’s been somewhat recession-proof.
Habersham store 912-352-2370. Ogeechee 912-358-0511
www.jonesredandwhite.com and on Facebook.
— Lanie Peterson