How These Franchisees Made Giving Back a Top Priority During a Pandemic Shutdown

Exclusive Insights
Jack Stanton

Time of crisis and hardships tend to bring out one’s true colors, and the last few months of the COVID-19 pandemic has done just that.

Anne and Jack Stanton are new business owners, who opened their very first PJ’s Coffee in Jackson, Miss. With four children who are five years old and younger, including a newborn, the couple wanted a career that gave them the flexibility to put their young family first.

However, opening their first business and bringing a new life into the world in the midst of a global pandemic is something no one could have expected. So, what did the Stantons do to positively grow their business while serving their community during all of this uncertainty?

Spread the Love – Giving Back to the Local Community

Between welcoming a little one into their homes and striving to open their very first business venture, Anne and Jack knew they had to give back to those helping on the frontlines to keep their family safe.

“We were just starting to get into the swing of things when COVID-19 hit Jackson. We knew it was the right thing to do a two-week voluntary shutdown during Mississippi’s projected peak of Coronavirus cases. We kept in touch with our local medical center by reaching out every two or three days to check the status and get a sense of what was happening,” explained Jack.

Despite this voluntary shutdown, Jack and Anne wanted to share their appreciation for those who kept their family and community safe. Every weekday for two weeks straight the couple donated 200 cups of coffee to a local hospital, along with food donations to local food assistance programs.

“It is important to show gratitude for those who care for you because those same people are the ones who make up your community, support your business, and are there to lend a helping hand when you need it most,” said Anne.


jack and anne stanton
Jack and Anne Stanton.


Rolling with the Punches – How to Smoothly Overcome Hurdles

When opening any business, there are always going to be hurdles to overcome. However, when doing so amid a pandemic, the task is bound to present even more obstacles. How you overcome these hurdles can define your strength and resiliency as a business owner.

“We have been playing a game of catch up because of the impact of COVID-19,” said Jack. “Our grand opening was scheduled for March 27, but of course shortly before then is when the world turned upside down. We then had to figure out a strategic way to operate as we were trying to navigate through the obstacles.”

Luckily, Anne and Jack weren’t on their own throughout all of this – the corporate team at PJ’s Coffee was determined to see the couple succeed, despite the unknown of what was to come. The corporate team provided up to date information on coronavirus best practices, marketing and promotional support, relief guidance, and trouble-shooting assistance every step of the way. Thanks to the immense support of the community and corporate team, they were able to celebrate their official grand opening in early July.

What Lies Ahead?

The Stantons are PJ’s Coffee pioneers and introduced the concept into a new market. Thankfully, Jackson is only a few hours from PJ’s Coffee’s hometown of New Orleans, so many in the community had great knowledge of the brand.

This new location is in the heart of Jackson, and will hopefully be the first of many. The couple is excited to integrate the spirit of PJ’s Coffee into Jackson and have their hearts set on opening future locations in the surrounding areas.

“We thought it was important to have our flagship store be located in the center of our community,” explained Jack. “To properly incorporate the brand into Jackson, we wanted to show our love for the city and grow a deep connection with the members of the community before expanding.”

Being in the present is important, but looking forward to the future and the impact you can have on your community is crucial in achieving overall success.

As the Stantons state, community is everything and doing right by them will take any business far. If owners support, respect, and show appreciation for community members, they can find success in any business venture.


Anne and Jack Stanton are franchise owners of PJ's Coffee. For more information and franchise opportunities for International Franchise Association (IFA) franchisor member PJ's Coffee, click here.