Q 1. Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.

Ans: Provide an authentic Chicago experience as one of the oldest restaurants in the city providing outstanding Italian sandwiches and specialized grocery items.

Q 2. Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).

Ans: Started working at the store when I was 9 years old, learned the business from the ground up, learning from my dad and developed a deep appreciation of the business. Went ot Depaul University and studied Law. After college, I realized that I had a passion for the business and finished my degree at Depaul while working at the store.

Q 3. What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?

Ans: Learning from my family about hard work and relationship building.

Q 4. What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs? Don’t Stop.

Ans: The more you fall down, the harder you have to fight to get back up. When you mess up, you have to dust your self off and not let the failures get to you.

Q 5. What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

Ans: Tenacity, Perseverance and Commitment. Never get comfortable with being complacent.

Q 6. How many hours do you work a day on average?

Ans: 10-12

Q 7. To what do you most attribute your success?

Ans: Foresight to see what’s next

Q 8. How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?

Ans: Website / Digital marketing has been huge for us. We try to make it as organic as possible. Social Marketing has been key as well, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are crucial to our business to get our true voice to come through to our customers.

Q 9. Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?

Ans: Boot strapped, we did it ourselves. When I took over the family business, we were in a mountain of debt. I am happy we started at the bottom of the mountain and it made us do everything we needed to do to survive and thrive.

Q 10. What is the best way to achieve long-term success?

Ans: Perseverance.

Q 11. Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?

Ans: There is always expansion plans in mind. I would like to see what growth we have been able to achieve. So much of our success is that we are a family run business and we have that personal touch. It’s very important that we maintain our home base and our reputation as a neighborhood staple.

Q 12. Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?

Ans: A lot of the restaurant groups around us. Being in the West Loop, Boka Group and One-Off hospitality are two of my favorites. Why I admire them is the way they have gone about their success and the way they have grown without being watered down. Each of their spots has a very unique character, yet has that “roots” feeling, with amazing chefs. They have the perfect balance of not hampering creativity by creating a world class experience for their patrons. Every other family run restaurant is highly admired by me because I know first hand how hard it is to compete against the big chains.

Q 13. How important have good employees been to your success?

Ans: The most important part of our businesses. I can’t make 700 sandwiches alone. Everyone who has worked for us has been with us for years and we take good care of our employees. The single most hardest thing to do as a business owner is to find and retain good employees.

Q 14. How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?

Ans: It depends on what it is. I do quarterly reviews. I will give anything 6 months, but somethings may need a full year before you know if it works out.

Q 15. What motivates you?

Ans: My family.

Q 16. What are your ideals?

Ans: To do things the right way, to be honest, to not take short cuts and appreciate what you have. Teaching my children how to work hard the same way my family has done for me. Treating customers the right way is important.

Q 17. How do you generate new ideas?

Ans: By touching base with my customers. A lot of new ideas come from listening to honest feedback, good or bad. Making the customer experience as convenient and enjoyable as possible.

Q 18. How do you define success?

Ans: My happiness defines my success. Feeling secure in the way things are going and all the other things fall in line.

Q 19. How do you build a successful customer base?

Ans: By realizing if it’s not for them, you don’t have anything. Our customers feel that when they come into our shop, they feel like they are being treated with appreciation and respect.

Q 20. What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

Ans: It all is on my shoulders and I like that. I don’t want to sound like a power hungry person, but I like the pressure and I like the responsibility.

Q 21. What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

Ans: Knowing that my mom is fully taken care of. A big responsibility for me was that when my dad passed 10 years ago, I knew I had to step up and take care of the family. It really makes me feel

Q 22. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?

Ans: Everybody is taking a risk, whether you are working for someone or not. The responsibility of providing for my employees and their families is a big difference.

Q 23. What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone and why did you institute this particular type of culture?

Ans: Again, one of the advantages of JP Graziano is a multi generation business. Finding the best products, being real with people, taking care of customers and thinking forward all contribute to our culture.

Q 24. In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.

Ans: Eventful.


Company Detail:

Company : J.P. Graziano Grocery
Contact : Jim Graziano
Address : 901 W Randolph St
City : Chicago
State : IL
Zip : 60607
Phone : 312-666-4587
Email : jim@jpgraziano.com