|Our Drivers Carry Only
$10 in Change
JJ's was founded and is owned by Me, Justin (J.J.) Salazar
and I would like to tell people about where I'm from.
I grew up in the UNM area. My house was 2 blocks from Central. I would see my cousin
on the weekends. He would come over to my house and we would get about $3 each
from our parents to walk down Central to the campus area. It was the early eighties.
There were video games every where, drugstores like Campus Pharmacy ,
laundromats like the Coin Op and of course game rooms. Even the Frontier had about
5 games at the height of the stand up game era. Occasionally we would get ourselves a
slice of old fashioned New York style pizza from Nunzios. We would spend hours
walking, playing games, stretching our $3 for as many hours as we could.
As a teenager I loved to cook I tried to learn not just the method and technique of
cooking but also the science of it too. I loved to learn about breads. I found it difficult to
find good knowledge about the chemistry of bread. But slowly I pieced together a
complete understanding of the processes that create different breads
I met Jennifer In my high school art class (come see drawings I made in that class
hanging in the store).
My first job was at Howdy Ceramics on Menaul. At $3.85 per hour I would fill molds with
liquid clay and clean the pieces when they dried. I was very unhappy, My coworkers
smoked constantly, listened to popular country (no classics), and then summer came
and they wanted me to work under the heater that they would keep running to dry the
clay pieces (literally sweating in a shop). One day I left work and aimlessly drove North
on San Mateo. I passed by the Pizza Hut at Candelaria and saw a "Now Hiring" banner.
I went in and got hired to be a driver. That was a fateful day. A few years later I was a
young shift manager. An area manager asked if I would train to be a General Manager.
I accepted and moved to The Hut at Zuni and Washington (busiest and smallest
delivery unit in New Mexico). During my time at Pizza Hut I began to appreciate all the
differences in pizzas made by independents. I went to California and saw about 12
different little independent pizza places and I was amazed. After that I would travel just
to taste pizzas, most of them fantastic, some horrible. After a year of training, there was
not a store without a general manager so they wanted me to stay as assistant. I
decided that assistant manager wasn't worth 50-80 hour weeks. I went back to driving.
A few years later we had our first child. Jennifer had left her job waiting tables at a
restaurant by the mall to have our son. Soon It became evident that I should do more
for the future of my child than I was doing. We had little money to start a business with.
So I went to talk to a business Realtor to see what we could buy with credit. We were
told we would need 20 thousand dollars to even consider even talking about anything
specific. We had about $4000. We borrowed about $10000 from credit cards. We
borrowed the rest from our family. After getting our $20 thousand we looked at a bunch
of very small businesses. One was in the ground floor of a 6 story building on the
southern end of downtown. There were two soda coolers, a few potato chip racks and a
cash register. We did not feel like that was any real opportunity to make a future for our
family. Finally, we found Easy Street Pizza the owners financed us and we paid them
back in 5 years. It was more than we had wanted to get into, about $70,000 more. But it
seemed to be the best option despite the fact that we had to borrow about 10 times our
net worth for something that people often fail at.
to be continued when I have a day off and my kids don't need something.
|locally owned and operated