How did Jamwich begin?
“It was a way of living back in the beginning in the early 1900’s- this is how they [ancestors] preserved their gardens in the winter months. The craft was then passed down through generations and generations. Unfortunately, in 2007, we lost my grandmother and were not expecting ‘jamming’ to be therapeutic. It really coached my mom through the depression of losing her mother. After helping out my mom in college, when I graduated, I was like, ‘hey, you know we could turn this into a side business and create a brand and put a logo on this and start selling it!’ We started getting creative and using our jam mixes as cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving dinner. One year, I took home the leftover cans and used them on my sandwiches; I accidentally created the Turkey Jamwich! My husband and my children were young at the time and he said, ‘oh my gosh- you’ve always wanted a restaurant, maybe you need a sandwich shop that serves this type of sandwiches!’ I thought, ‘Oh, whatever,” and blew it off, but he wouldn’t let me forget about it! He was the force that gave me the confidence to go forward.
What would you say your purpose behind Jamwich, deeper than creating tasty food, would be?
“My grandmother I always talk so highly about was a missionary and throughout my years of growing up right beside her, she always brought in friends or family and fed them. I think that’s why I was naturally driven towards food as a career path. Through food, I felt like I could have the most confidence about making somebody’s day better. Food is a comfort. Food is what brings you to a table for conversations that become timeless to be made. I don’t know if you noticed my friend, David [motions to an older man pushing a stroller full of baby dolls to the register; appears to be homeless], he’s not where we are in life. David comes through and I welcome him with a hot lunch and a cold beverage. Some days it’s 100 degrees, some days it’s raining, and some days it’s zero degrees outside, but we always welcome David with open arms. He just knows that when he’s hungry, we will feed him.
We always say that Jamwich is restoring humanity, one Jamwich at a time.”
What are some goals for Jamwich?
“I want to start a nonprofit called ‘Give a Jam’ to help feed the community. Especially the children in Floyd county who have no food over the summer months with no school. We don’t tend to think of food as being a daily struggle, and these children wake up wondering where their food is gonna come from. Right now I’m only able to provide peanut butter and jelly [sandwiches], but I hope that we could someday bring in canned goods to prepare meals for families, sending children home with enough to feed four or six people, rather than just one.”
How do you want regular customers to feel when they walk in the door?
“Oh, like they’re family! Yes! I read once that customer satisfaction is worthless, and customer loyalty is priceless. We also guarantee satisfaction, and if you’re not satisfied, then I’m sure to let my employees know that we will fully remake their sandwich, no questions asked. Our customers are family, and that’s why we’ve named our rewards program ‘Jamily.’”
Any words of wisdom to offer?
“Never stop believing. And don’t cut corners. Do something the right way the first time, and then you never have to go back and change anything. My first year here was so challenging that it took a whole lot of laughter to get me through that. I never quit believing in myself or my product.
Don’t ever let fear control your dream.”