Ask John Raymond about operating a business for 30 years, and he will tell you about the people who have helped along the way.
Raymond is the owner of Honest John's Pizzeria, which is located 1245 E. Second St., Jamestown. Raymond's business moved to this East Side location in 1985, after first being located at 713 E. Second St. Raymond received his start in the restaurant business thanks to another longtime Jamestown business owner, Bill Miley.
When Raymond was 16 years old he went to work for Miley when he ran Honest Bill's. Within a year, Raymond was operating the business. Shortly after, he purchased the pizza shop from Miley, who then opened Miley's Old Inn, which is located at 845 E. Second St.
Anna Dietzel, Honest John’s Pizzeria assistant manager, and John Raymond, Honest John’s Pizzeria owner, are shown with a pizza made at Honest John’s Pizzeria, which is located at 1245 E. Second St., Jamestown. Honest John’s is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
P-J photo by Dennis Phillips
''Bill Miley planted the seed for me,'' Raymond said.
Raymond said several local suppliers helping him in the early years is one reason he is still open today. He named several businesses that assisted, which included Jones Bakery and Brigiotta's Farmland Produce.
''I was an 18-year-old kid with no credit. They were there for me,'' he said. ''I couldn't have done it without them.''
Raymond said he also received advice from his father, Anthony Raymond, who operated Raymond's Meats, on how to run a food business.
''I owe all my success to my father, and my failures to not listening to him,'' he said.
Through the years, Raymond has also received help from his wife, Sally, and his two children, Corey and Shawna, who have helped provide service and cooked at Honest John's.
''Through it all, my co-pilot, my wife, has been there for me,'' he said. ''My boy (Corey) has worked here. He makes the prettiest looking pizza, a true artist. My daughter (Shawna) has a smile that lights up the customers.''
Raymond said his staff has been invaluable in helping the restaurant survive 30 years.
''The most important thing is the help. They have always been there for me,'' he said. ''Throughout the years, I've had a great staff.''
Anna Dietzel, Honest John's assistant manager, said she has worked with Raymond for 23 years. She said most employees have enjoyed working at the restaurant because Raymond makes it fun.
''He keeps it entertaining,'' she said. ''He has been a mentor, a father figure and a brother to me. He makes it enjoyable to go to work.''
Raymond said, along with his family and staff, the restaurant would not be successful without their loyal customers. He said the most important part of the business is customer service.
''You've got to listen to the customers. Change is difficult, but you have got to be willing to listen,'' he said. ''There is nothing like getting a phone call from a customer thanking you. Them saying, 'The food was great,' is what we are here for.''
One thing Honest John's is known for in the community is how the restaurant supports local youth organizations and sports teams with donations of food and money. Raymond even received a letter from Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi thanking him for his support.
''The kids, they deserve it,'' he said about the donations. ''It is one thing to give a free pizza to an adult, but it is a different world when you give one to a kid. The smiles you get from them.''
The business is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information or to place an order, call 665-2555.