Donnie Caffery headshotName: Donnie Caffery, Owner of Good Foods Grocery

Years in Business: 34

What did you want to be as a child?
I never wanted to be anything, though I did spend all of my life playing tennis. I was very comfortable finding the doors that were opened for me as I went through college and graduation.

What’s the best piece of business advice you received when starting out?
I actually did not receive any advice, I just did it. But the best advice for any entrepreneur is that once you choose this path, you are going to face your fears in life, and to be ok with that.

When did you first realize that your business was going to succeed?
If you asked me when did I realize that I was healthy, I would answer that the goal is not the success, but the Journey of Wellness that we are all on for our entire lives. The same holds true for Good Foods Grocery, what success we have should never take the place of the journey of the business. There is always a new step to take. Enjoy the walk.

What’s the first thing you do every morning to set the tone for your day?
I kiss my wife and hug my dog.

What tool, object, or ritual could you not live without in your workday?
I love to eat! I am definitely in the right business.

How did you come up with the name for your business?
It is the same process as writing a song. Some ideas come, some get worked, some come from other people. To be honest, when I started my first natural food store in New Orleans it was called All Natural Foods. I know, rather generic. So I changed it to Good Foods Grocery when we moved to Richmond. I wanted to at least say we were a grocery store.

When did you last meet someone who inspired you?
Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates do not inspire me at all. Being involved in the local food movement through Real Local RVA, I am inspired by every local farmer and local food producer and the work ethic and passion that they bring to their businesses to serve the Richmond community.

What characteristic do you most admire in other business owners?
I have the most admiration for creativity and great delegation.

What does the world need more of?
Well, the Beatle’s song says “All we need is love,” but I say we need more small businesses.

As a leader, when did you receive a piece of criticism that was tough to overcome?
I have and continue to be challenged with two areas that I have been criticized. One is complimenting the people that serve me. The other is not being clear on instructions.

Which of your personal traits makes you proudest?
If I don’t compliment well, at least I do listen well and respond in a loving manner, or at least strive to do so.

Name a fear or professional challenge that keeps you up at night?
Oh, there is that fear word. Honestly, I had not looked down the page. First of all, keeping me up at night is not a bad thing always. As the brain relaxes it actually can solve problems easier. As an entrepreneur I am always having ideas at night. It is a great time to not be asleep when you are thinking of great ideas!

What does success mean to you?
Success means that something has happened that allows the business to move forward. Success is primarily thought of in financial terms, but actually refers to any aspect of your business. Better team work is the best success.

Has learning from a mistake ever led you to success?
You can accurately answer that question by saying that because I have made hundreds of mistakes IS the reason I have been successful. I love mistakes.

What’s the best thing about being a local business owner?
When you own a business it makes you very aware. Aware of the economy. Aware of your industry. Aware of competition. Aware of your community. Aware of the team work of your people. To be on the pulse of all of that is the best thing your business needs to serve your community and be prepared for competition.