Jon Bjorgo Shares His Chicago Style Food Story and How Jonny's of Longmont Helps the Community
In 2018, Jon Bjorgo started a Chicago Style food stand called Jonny's of Longmont, where he brought a taste of Chicago to Colorado. When Covid-19 spread across America, he was forced to close down his brick-and-mortar shop and focus on his food trucks. Now working out of a commissary kitchen with a can-do attitude, he's pivoted his business, including pitching in to feed firefighters during one of the most devastating fire seasons in Colorado's history. Listen in as he shares his passion for the food from the Windy City and how he's grown his community of loyal fans who travel to find his food.
Below is an edited transcript from our conversation with Jon.
[00:00:00] Andrew: Welcome to the Stickers on the Mic podcast brought to you by StickerGiant.com, where we talk with our customers about how they started their business, how they're marketing their brand, and how they're growing their company. If you're joining us for the first time, welcome, and if you're a regular listener, thank you for your continued support.
Hey, everybody, and welcome back to Stickers on the Mic. Andrew here today with you again. Very fortunate to be dialing in our friend Jonathan Bjorgo, of Jonny's of Longmont. Jon, thank you so much for joining us on the show and really looking forward to talking about one of my favorite things in the world, and that is the Chicago-style hotdog. Folks, I grew up in Chicago. I worked at a Chicago-style hotdog stand back in the day in Madison, Wisconsin.
Jon, my friend, your business is serving up a taste of Chicago here in Longmont, Colorado. Tell us a little bit about how you found yourself in Colorado, opening up a Chicago-style hotdog and food brand.
[00:01:29] Jonathan Bjorgo: Well, first, Andrew, thanks for having me on. I know we've been trying to do this for a while, and now we were just able to. With COVID and everything, it made it a little bit more difficult for us, but now we finally found the time. The way that I ended up here was strange. I was in medicine for about 22 years, and I was dating a girl, and she had always said we should move to Colorado, we should move to Colorado. The time was never right.
Then one day I just had enough of medicine, and I came home and I was like, "I'm ready to move to Colorado." She was like, "Okay, when do you want to move?" I was like, "Tuesday." A couple of days after I quit my job, I packed up my stuff, came out to Colorado, and it's been history ever since then.
[00:02:24] Andrew: Nice. Where did you grow up in Chicago?
[00:02:28] Jonathan: I grew up in the northwest suburbs. I was born in Arlington Heights, raised a little bit in Lagrange in Naperville. Most of, I would say, my formidable years from the time I was in fifth grade until probably after I got out of the military, I lived in Arlington Heights.
[00:02:46] Andrew: Nice. I'm from Oak Park, Illinois, so I went to Oak Park Red Forest High School.
[00:02:50] Jonathan: I know a lot of people from Oak Park, a lot of people are here in Colorado from Oak Park.
[00:02:56] Andrew: Well, it was interesting in Longmont, when I first moved here, it reminded me so much of where I grew up, and I learned that it was people from Chicago who moved out here. It's a Chicago, Colorado colony, and all that stuff, for those who are interested in history. That's cool. You got here in 2014, but then in 2018, you decide to open up Jonny's, right?
[00:03:18] Jonathan: Correct. When I first got here, I found a job working for-- Actually, my first job when I got to Colorado was for a landscaping company. I got here, I want to say it was April 28, 2014. I found a job off of Craigslist when I was driving out here. I got here in the morning, I had about 45 minutes to wait before I started my first job on the very first day that I got here.
I had no time to acclimate to the elevation. My very first job was laying 10,000 square feet of sod on the Hill in Boulder, and I was gassed. I had no idea about the elevation, nothing like that. I did that for a little bit, found a different job, working for a guy as a handyman. I did that for probably two years, I would say. Then after that, he closed his business. I went to work for a pond-building company here in Colorado.
I did that for about a year and then I was just like, "You know what, I just--" The opportunity presented itself, a space became available. I knew a guy actually from Lake Zurich that had a hotdog joint in the exact spot that I ended up being in, and I worked for him for a while. After working for him, I realized, "you know what, I can do this on my own. I don't have to work for another guy."
We had parted ways and then I was working for the pond company. Then another buddy came by, and he was like, "Hey, you know that hotdog joint spot is available." I was talking to another friend of mine, who is my initial business partner, Megan, and I was telling her, I was like, "This will be the perfect place. This will be the perfect opportunity."
She was just like, "Hey, let's do it," and we decided to start Jonny's. We got the space. I want to say it was two days before Thanksgiving of 2018, and on a shoestring budget, we opened up Jonny's on December 15.
[00:05:28] Andrew: Nice. I recall when that happened because I drove by, and I said, "Wait a minute, Jonny's?" Again, I'm from Chicago, so Jonny's Beef was our local spot, and they have a world-renowned Italian pizza. I was like, "Oh dear, this place has got a high bar," different spelling, same kind of food.
[00:05:46] Jonathan: Yes. Everybody asked if we're related and I was like, "No, different people, same kind of food but just not the same."
[00:05:56] Andrew: Totally different vibe but same concept, right? In any event, you spent basically 2019 really growing your brand and doing everything you could, and that's where we met. I definitely hit there a few times running errands downtown, so you were at Main and Third. You had a relative degree of success there, clearly, but then fast-forward a little bit into 2020, and we have COVID.
At that point, you shut down the brick and mortar, and you have to pivot your business. There's a lot of people who are either just giving up on their businesses, which is obviously very unfortunate, but then there's also folks like you who are trying to revitalize and keep the brand alive but then keep feeding people, I guess, in your case, right?
[00:06:41] Jonathan: Sure. That was probably the hardest decision since we opened this business was to decide to close the brick and mortar, but believe it or not, it made the most business sense. I do not have a business background, I have a medical background. I was in the medical field for 22 years, but I surrounded myself with good people that have the business and my best interest at heart.
They are people that I trust completely, and they were the ones that decided. We would talk about how we should maybe do things here, and there and everybody was of the same mind, "You should just close the brick and mortar." People were not going out like they used to, and we relied heavily on foot traffic. Then they put up some concrete barriers along Main Street, which took away a lot of parking, and things like that. It was in August of this year that we closed the brick and mortar and just went to a food truck model.
[00:07:53] Andrew: Right. When you had to do that, you had the truck already, or I don't recall the exact moment in 2019 when you were already adding a truck to the brick and mortar.
[00:08:05] Jonathan: It was probably about-- I want to say it was September of 2019 that we bought our first one, and it's a trailer. The first one we got was a trailer, and then, believe it or not, we bought a self-driving truck right before the COVID close-down. We were like, "If it wasn't for COVID, we would have had a banner year." We had probably close to 400 events planned, some big concerts, and things like that, that we had been invited to because people were really starting to recognize the name and the brand and the quality of food that we delivered. Then COVID came along and 2020 was like, "Yes, not this year."
[00:08:52] Andrew: That was tough for everyone involved. You were positioned, I guess then, fortunately, you had some assets to pivot, right?
[00:09:04] Jonathan: We did. We have the two food trucks. As soon as we started moving forward with the plan of closing the brick and mortar, we started looking for commissary space and we were very lucky one of our customers came in and said, "You should go talk to the folks at the Longmont Elks Lodge." We went over there. I spoke with Karen Burrow, who has been just absolutely amazing and instrumental in getting us in there.
They have done everything that they can, not just for the Jonny's brand, but there's a few other food trucks that are there that operate out of the Elks Lodge, and they have done everything that they can to help all of us there. That became our base of operations, and we've been there since August of this year.
[00:09:59] Andrew: Very cool. For those who don't live in Longmont, this is right downtown, and then there's a little starting up a food truck court or something, not too far from there either. Do you participate in that when that's going on?
[00:10:17] Jonathan: I want to say it's across the street. It's over by the St. Vrain Cidery.
[00:10:23] Andrew: That's right.
[00:10:24] Jonathan: That's over there. We had not participated in that yet. With the weather changing and things like that, that's been put on the back burner with the shutdowns of COVID and things like that.
[00:10:41] Andrew: It's kind of touch and go, right?
[00:10:43] Jonathan: Yes, absolutely.
[00:10:44] Andrew: You've been focusing on being in the parking lot at the Elks Lodge. I see you are there from Tuesday through Saturday or whatever, and then you're also out and about at different breweries and wherever you can find yourself these days, right?
[00:10:57] Jonathan: Yes. We have been doing a lot of the breweries in Longmont and then we started to branch out. We did the Loveland Food Truck Rally and had a good deal of success up there. We have a lot of success when we go up to Berthoud, we go to City Star Brewery, Berthoud Brewing Company quite a bit. Love the folks up there. They're very hospitable, love the customers up there.
Right now, what we've been lucky to do is since the latest round of COVID closures, even the Elks Lodge can't operate. The bar can't be opened, they can't hold meetings, things like that. What we can do and what we have started to do is basically to reopen Jonny's through the kitchen at the Elks Lodge. Now Tuesday through Saturday, from 11:00 to 7:00, we do delivery and to-go orders.
Nobody can come in, but all they have to do is everybody either phones in an order, orders online, or orders through Easy Eats, Longmont. We either deliver their order, or they just pick it up in the parking lot. We come out and have a contactless pickup system. We've been able to relaunch Jonny's that way right now.
[00:12:15] Andrew: Nice. That's cool. Easy Eats, Longmont, you had to do some things, you had the trucks, but it sounds like you hook up with the kitchen, which is great. Then you have to figure out how to meet your customers, and then you've found these technology solutions to do that.
[00:12:33] Jonathan: Correct.
[00:12:35] Andrew: What's next, I guess? There's so much touch and go with the COVID. That's like if you had a magic 8-ball, but it sounds like you're able to be a little bit more nimble without having the rent and all that stuff, which is the way it is now. Other than slinging dogs and gyros, these, and all that, those are core offerings, my favorite things. Those are my kind of food in a way.
[00:13:07] Jonathan: Oh, yes.
[00:13:10] Andrew: How do you keep this going, man?
[00:13:14] Jonathan: Man, that's the million-dollar question. We have been blessed with a great customer base, a loyal customer base, and they have sought us out wherever we go. Ultimately, we would like to get back into our own brick and mortar, whether it be in Longmont or one of the very close surrounding towns to Longmont. This will always be, I should say, our base of operations, where my heart is.
I love Longmont. I love the people here. It's been a great learning experience. When we've asked the community for help, when we've done some of the things, feeding the firefighters, and things like that, everybody just steps right up. Then in turn, when the city or the community has come to us for help, we've been able to help them out the way that we'd like to.
[00:14:20] Andrew: You mentioned feeding the firefighters, actually. Folks, for those listening, the last couple of months were rough, not just because of the natural pandemic, but we had some pretty wild fires. Actually, they were wildfires, and they were wild. They got really close to the city limits of Longmont, actually, in the foothills here.
You could see them from the StickerGiant factory from the parking lot.
Late at night up in the hills, you could see it. You ended up running a food drive in a way to serve those firefighters. What did that look like because that ended up being a lot of food, right? How did you do that?
[00:14:58] Jonathan: It was, and it was multiple times. My son and my now wife, we were sitting around one day up in Loveland, and where we're at up here, we could go out into the driveway and see the fires. They were that close to us. We were just talking one night and I was like, "Man, I wish there was something we could do." They looked at me like I was crazy, and they're like, "You have a food truck. Why don't you take the food truck up there?"
My wife, Carrie, she gave me the information to get in touch with the Loveland Fire Rescue Authority. Just on a whim, I sent him a message on Messenger, and they responded immediately and they were like, "We would love for you to do that." Then by the time we were able to coordinate everything, the fires had gotten really, really close, so everything was a mandatory evacuation order.
We told them what we wanted to do, and they put us in touch with one of the battalion chiefs there, and she met us at one of the police roadblocks, and they took us through the roadblock, took us up to one of the fire stations close to the frontlines, and we set up in their driveway, and as they would rotate firefighters out, they came down, got a nice hot meal at the fire station, and then the guys that weren't able to come off the line, we had made sack lunches for them because we knew some people wouldn't be able to make it off.
Actually, that was the night that the CalWood Fire started down in Boulder. When we realized that there was another fire when we were leaving from Loveland, we headed back down and we were like, "You know what," we went back, we quickly made some more meals, and took them down to the fire training center in Boulder, told them who we were, what we were doing. They were very, very appreciative.
That's basically what got the ball rolling. After that, then the troublesome fire up by Estes Park got right on the city limits up there, so they evacuated Estes Park. Then one of the ladies from the Estes Park Chamber got in touch with the Longmont Chamber and Karen Stallard from the Longmont Chamber reached out to us and to Georgia Boys and said, "Hey, they need some help up in Estes Park, would you be willing to send some food up to the firefighters in the emergency operation center in Estes Park?" We didn't hesitate.
Us and Georgia Boys and I believe there might've been a few other restaurants, did everything that we could. I remember one of the days that we took food up to Estes Park was the day we got that crazy snowstorm. Not only did we take meals up and feed everybody at the emergency operations center in Estes Park, at this point, a lot of other restaurants in Loveland had stepped up and started to help out with feeding the firefighters and making sure everybody got a hot meal, but nobody was really stepping up, at this point, to help out the evacuees.
We got in touch with the American Red Cross at this point and said, "Hey, we've been feeding these firefighters. How about we help you guys out and we feed the evacuees?" They were very, very appreciative of that. We spent the day and made another 400 or 500 sandwiches. In the middle of a blizzard, our volunteers drove all over Northern Colorado to deliver these meals to the evacuees.
We did everything that we could, and we had the ability, we had the time, we had the volunteers, so that was what we did. At the time, it was the thing to do. Then we asked the community for a little bit of help, and we got a ton of help. We were able to do quite a few meals. At this point, I don't even remember what the count was, but we had people that donated their time, their driving, money, food, everything that you could imagine, everybody just stepped forward, and we were able to take care of a lot of people.
[00:19:38] Andrew: Right on, yes, I know. It's not lost on me that Chicago is known for its big fire back in 1871 or whatever or '70, whenever the great Chicago fire was, and here you are feeding Chicago food to the firefighter people, a nice thing that you could do. Yes, that was quite a run between the Cameron Peak and CalWood and Lefthand, and then Troublesome.
It was a lot. It was quite a lot. Thank you for doing that. That was pretty positive, no doubt about it. You've been able to keep busy doing that. Like you said, you're focusing on growing this local presence here with the to-go. Once we can figure out COVID, we'll maybe get you back into a physical space, right?
[00:20:28] Jonathan: Sure. That's our ultimate goal.
[00:20:31] Andrew: Nice. What is your favorite thing on your menu? A hard pivot from the serious talk of wildfires, what is your favorite type of-- When you're like, "I got to bring that piece of home with me to Colorado," what was that particular dish?
[00:20:47] Jonathan: Man, that is a hard question. Right now, the first thing I would say it was was the Italian beef sandwich. Now, believe it or not, we are known for having some of the best burgers. We do some crazy, crazy, crazy sandwiches. I have a friend named Travis and he works in Lewisville or Lafayette. He maintains Ferrari's, but he's a big guy. I have made him some of the most off-the-wall creations.
He'll come in and I'll be like, "Travis, what do you want?" He'll be like, "I don't know, surprise me." I'll look at him, and I'll be like, "Man, I hope you're hungry because this will feed a small army." I have just made him some of the most off-the-wall creations, and he posts pictures of them on Facebook. Our burgers are very, very, very good. Right now, I still think the Italian beef is my favorite. That's the staple. That's what most people here don't even know what I'm talking about and then they get it and they're like, "You got to be kidding me."
[00:21:57] Andrew: Well then, let's go down the Italian beef road here. Sweet or hot peppers?
[00:22:05] Jonathan: Both.
[00:22:05] Andrew: All right, you get the combo. Now, what about dry or wet?
[00:22:09] Jonathan: I do a dip.
[00:22:10] Andrew: There you go.
[00:22:11] Jonathan: Just baptize that sucker, [crosstalk] the whole thing, take it for a swim.
[00:22:16] Andrew: I like a little bit of bread. That's the beauty of especially when you go to a place like Jonny's, you can have your order. Jonny's is in-- Is it Almond Park? It's right at River Forest. It's right there at Forest Park, whatever. It's right there, far from where I grew up. You got to have your order dialed in because it's an assembly line. Do you know what I mean? You got to know what you want. That's good to know what you want. Although I'm a big fan of a gyro, and, of course, hotdogs are one of my first loves, I just love a Chicago-style hotdog.
[00:22:44] Jonathan: We have brought all of those tastes here, and everybody has quickly learned what their favorites are. We have people, I'll see their phone number, and I'll be like, "I already know what you want," and they'll be like, "Yes, just get it all set. It's been good. It's been a lot of fun. When I was growing up, I was the middle of five kids, so time with mom was at a premium. The time that I spent with her was when she was in the kitchen. That was where I got my love of cooking. Then when I was in high school, one of my very first jobs was at a local hotdog joint.
[00:23:30] Andrew: You did have a background there. That's what I wondered. It's one thing to be like, "I love this food, and I want to do it." It's another thing to be like, "I've worked in the shop. I've been in the basement cutting the onions, I've been prepping the food" because, especially with just a straight Chicago dog that gets dragged to the garden, you got to have all those things lined up, and they're always there. Otherwise, you can't deliver on the promise of the Chicago-style dog. You did, you worked at a shop in Chicago?
[00:23:58] Jonathan: Oh, yes. Growing up, when I started working at this hotdog joint, there was a place right on the border of Arlington Heights and Prospect Heights and it was called Nikko's. It was a hotdog joint for the longest time, and it was very, very popular. When I was working there, for the whole entire time I worked there and for as long as I needed, they never had now hiring sign up.
It was that popular. You had to know somebody to get a job. It's like everybody wants to work there. It's like when you're in the minors and you're number gets called to come up to the big leagues. They were just like, "Hey, I can get you in," and I was like, "Oh, my gosh, yes." It's like finding the holy grail of jobs. When I got that job, the guys that I worked with, I have relationships with those guys that are some of the longest friendships I've had.
Next to that, it's guys I was in the army with back in the early '90s. Those relationships have lasted that long. When I was working there, I was like, "One of these days, I'm going to have my own hotdog joint." I just never thought it was going to be in Colorado during the middle of a pandemic.
[00:25:22] Andrew: Oh, yes, that's funny. You did get to actualize that. That's nice. You're still going with the beef, that's fantastic, and we're trying to get you back into a shop. You mentioned knowing someone's number like that. Obviously, there was the walk-in traffic, maybe pick-up delivery back last year, but how have you maintained those connections with customers? How are you getting the word out right now? What are the tools you're using to maintain those connections because that's the hardest thing for restaurants right now for food?
[00:25:56] Jonathan: Right now, everything is through social media, through Instagram, and Facebook. Trying to just stay on top of what grabs people's attention, making sure that when we have pictures of the food, it looks really, really good. I had the best social media queen, Nicki Nez. She had done my social media for the longest time, and now with the shift of COVID and everything, now she has to be a stay-at-home mom and a teacher for three different kids in different grades, and things like that.
She doesn't really have time to do the social media posting as much as she did, so I've taken that back over. We do a lot of tongue-in-cheek posts, sometimes it pushes the envelope of, I don't know, maybe what's acceptable.
[00:27:06] Jonathan: Exactly. It's really, really hard to take my vision and my idea and have somebody else interpret it. Nicki was fantastic at that. I would just be like, "Hey, I've got this idea," and I would tell it to her, and the next thing I know, it was like she had been in my head the whole entire time. Now with COVID, and we're not as busy as we were before, now I have a little bit of time to do it on my own. That's the main thing, staying active on social media. Every time we go out, we give everybody one of these awesome stickers that we got from StickerGiant.
[00:27:54] Andrew: What have you got there? You're holding it up, but people can't see it, but I can see it, folks. He's holding up a-- What have you got there, buddy?
[00:28:02] Jonathan: Tom from StickerGiant came into Jonny's probably a year ago, and he ordered a bunch of food. He's just like, "Yes, I'm Tom from StickerGiant. If you ever need any stickers, give me a holler." He came in right after we opened, and that just wasn't in the budget. I have to tell you, I was probably as excited the day that I got to place my StickerGiant order as the day I opened it because I had a vision for what I wanted it to look like.
Then I told Tom, and he gave me the proof, and it was way more than what I thought it was going to be. I was like, "Yes, man, let's run with it. Give me a couple of thousand of these stickers." Then I remember the day that I went to pick them up. This is before COVID. You could actually go into StickerGiant and get them. Man, he took me around like I was the President. I got to see every bit of that plant, I got to meet everybody.
Everybody was so great. I got to see how the stickers were made, all these different stickers. I was like, "Man, this is going to set me apart from so many other businesses." Everybody's like, "Where do you get these stickers?" I was like, "I got a guy. Don't worry about where I get them from." Then basically, I'd be like, "All right, call Tom. He'll hook you up. He'll take care of you."
[00:29:29] Andrew: I remember that day when you were walking around. Actually, that's when I was like, "I want to have this conversation at some point."
[00:29:34] Jonathan: I remember that.
[00:29:34] Andrew: At that time, I feel like you were working on a generic sauce or trying to do bottling of certain flavors around the core product. I don't know. Are you still doing that, or how's that work?
[00:29:48] Jonathan: We do. Not only do we make food and everything but a lot of people will ask us, "Hey, can we just get all the fixings for a Chicago dog so we can make it at home?" Absolutely. Believe it or not, when we go up to Berthoud, we have a lot of people that come up there and buy just giardiniera or the Neon Green Relish, or whatever else they can't get from Chicago here. It has become a connection.
[00:30:16] Andrew: Whatever it may be.
[00:30:16] Jonathan: What's that?
[00:30:17] Andrew: Well like sport peppers, you know what I mean? You can find in that stuff, it's like poppy seed buns are around, Vienna beef's around, but usually, it's all the ancillary stuff around creating those flavors and especially when it comes to beef, it starts with the meat, you know what I mean? You got to source really super quality meat to do what you want it to do. Yes, the giardiniera is nice, and being able to have those peppers is fun. I love pickles. Pickles are like[crosstalk]
[00:30:45] Jonathan: Oh, yes. Even those pickles, we get them straight from Chicago. Everything we get comes straight from Chicago. Without that Chicago connection, we just wouldn't be able to do it. When we first opened, all of the Chicago people would come in and before they'd even look at the menu, they'd come in and they'd be like, "All right, what I want to know is, are you from Chicago doing Chicago food, or are you from Colorado trying to do Chicago food because that's just not going to work?"
[00:31:20] Andrew: That's what I said [crosstalk]
[00:31:21] Jonathan: We would have to basically give our resume, where we grew up, where we ate dogs from, and stuff like that.
[00:31:29] Andrew: That's why I'm asking these questions. I'm like, "What's your go-to?" You know what I mean? I had pizza red hots at Jonny's, those are in Oak Park, that's where you went, I did anyway. There's other places, Buona Beef, you can get other beef sandwiches. The beauty of a place like Chicago is you have your local pizza place, you got your hot dog place, maybe you got a different place for your gyro. You know what I mean? Those are your cravings, and over the course of a month, you might hit all those places. You know what I mean? The moveable feast that is Chicago in its own beautiful--
[00:32:00] Jonathan: One of my favorite places was Superdawg.
[00:32:02] Andrew: Oh, hell yes. My cousin lived up there, and they're actually customers of ours, too. They did a really cool sticker of the dog in the box with the Superdawg logo. I always loved going to Superdawg, and I'd go visit my cousin up there. She lived up north a little bit from us. That's fun.
[00:32:19] Jonathan: Yes, Superdawg, Al's Beef. For me, when I have customers who will go online and they will comment on our food and they'll be like, "This is as good or better than" insert their favorite Chicago joints, that to me, that gives me the feeling of you made it. It's not about the money. When somebody compares you to a Chicago staple that's been there 30, 40 years and they're like, "Man, this is better than this."
[00:32:52] Andrew: Like Gold Coast Dogs or whatever that place is [crosstalk] You know what I mean?
[00:32:56] Jonathan: Exactly.
[00:32:57] Andrew: Or a Goldie. Anyway, every neighborhood has at least 10 hot dog places [crosstalk]
[00:33:04] Jonathan: Oh, yes. They're like Walgreens, on every quarter there's one.
[00:33:05] Andrew: Whichever one you could walk to is your favorite when you're a kid. Then as you get older, you figure out bang for your buck and then you go see different neighborhoods, and that's always like the fun part about eating Chicago food, in my opinion, and going home, for that matter. Well, man, we've covered a lot of ground. This is very cool. Like I said, the story you're telling us here today is that one of perseverance and pivoting because this is not easy for anybody.
I've seen a lot of stores on Main Street here in Longmont that are dark, right, that are customers that have been on the show. Those kinds of things always, it's hard to see, right? At the same time, here you are, you got the online menu now and you've kept it going, and you've done some good in the process, especially with these recent wildfire relief efforts, which, again, that really was very positive to see, so thank you for doing that.
[00:34:00] Jonathan: Not a problem. It was definitely our pleasure. We want to be one of those places that regardless of the economic times and as long as we're able to do it, when the community calls, we'll answer that call in any way that we can. Even before that, one of the first things that we did was when we had the brick and mortar, we put a coat rack outside.
I had a bunch of coats and clothes that I didn't wear anymore and rather than just donate them and have another store make money off of them, we put them outside the brick and mortar, and we just put a sign on it that said, "If you're cold, take a coat. If you have one, leave one." It was for anybody, it didn't make a difference. I think last year, we probably went through and gave out over 400 coats, and people would just come off and leave a coat, take a coat, whatever the case was.
We had a lot of people that might've been homeless. I don't know, I didn't ask any questions or anything, but I had one guy-- I had left some old-- I call it interview clothes, suits, things like that, ties, things like that out there. One day, I saw a guy, he took a bunch of them and everything like that. I was like, "Oh, good. It's going to go to good use." Then a couple of days later, he brought them back, and there was a note in there, and he's just like, "Thanks for letting me borrow these clothes. I got my first job I've had in seven years."
I was like, "Man, that's what this is about right there." Then we started putting hats and gloves and any kind of camping gear or things like that out there. We always try to do the right thing. Sometimes we do really well, and sometimes we don't do as well, but it's what's behind it. It's the thought and everything, and as long as we have a place to operate, we will always be doing that.
[00:36:05] Andrew: Nice. In the meantime, like you said, like we said at the outset, people can find you at the Elks Lodge here in downtown Longmont. You'll be there Tuesday through Saturday, you got the lunch rush, the 11:00 to 2:00. You're doing dinner from 4:30 to 7:00 or so. That's what the times are right now. People can order up on Easy Eats, Longmont.com. Then, of course, you're rolling around the front range where you can get to meet people where they are.
[00:36:28] Jonathan: Sure, absolutely. They could always-- They can phone in an order, they can call us, they can come pick it up. They can call us, we deliver as well. If they don't want to use Easy Eats, whatever. If they call, we'll get them their food.
[00:36:43] Andrew: There you go. Well, Jon, thank you so much. Way to go, way to keep going, I guess. Other folks might have said that's enough. Good for you to stay with it and keep bringing that little sense of home, especially for those of us who are from Chicago land.
[00:37:01] Jonathan: Well, thanks for having me, Andrew. I really appreciate it.
[00:37:05] Andrew: We'll be looking forward to watching you keep this up, and like I said, we appreciate you as a customer and what you're doing for our community. Thank you, Jonny.
[00:37:15] Jonathan: You got it. Thank you.
[00:37:16] Andrew: Folks, on this show, we always end with our little tagline that says, "Every sticker has a story." Today, that sticker is Jonny's of Longmont, it's got the Colorado C and the sun there. It's got the Chicago skyline and, of course, the Frankfurter, the wonderful hot dog, red hot from Chicago. Then, of course, Jonny's, you got that like black and white stencily design, right?
[00:37:41] Jonathan: Right.
[00:37:42] Andrew: Was that your design?
[00:37:44] Jonathan: I wish I could say it was, but it was not.
[00:37:47] Andrew: It's still you.
[00:37:49] Jonathan: I had the idea, and I had a graphic designer just put it all together for me. She was an amazing graphic designer. As soon as I said, "This is what I'm looking for," she did it. It was the very first one that she did, and I said, "Don't even bother doing another prototype. That's it. You nailed it right out of the park."
[00:38:09] Andrew: Yes, it's got a nice shape. Of course, for those of us that know that Chicago skyline, that hits us close to home, and then you've got the Colorado presence, and everyone loves the brand of Colorado, the yellow, red, and blue.
Thank you, Jonny, so much. Thank you, everybody, for tuning in this week. I hope everyone's doing well in this holiday season, and we'll see you in a couple of weeks. Jonny, thank you for your time today, my friend.
[00:38:30] Jonathan: You got it. Thanks, buddy.
[00:38:37] Andrew: That wraps up this episode of Stickers on the Mic, brought to you by StickerGiant.com. You can download us on Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, SoundCloud, or your favorite podcatcher. If you enjoy what you're hearing, please leave us a review. It helps us reach new listeners and share our customers' sticker stories. Thanks again for listening to Stickers on the Mic.
[00:39:19] [END OF AUDIO]
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