It all started with an empty shoe box and an Atlanta phone book…
On September 4th, 1974, an innovative company called Penny Profits closed its doors and left Anderson County after a 90-day business venture and attempt at introducing the new “convenience store” concept to the area. The owner of the building, Joe Hollingsworth found himself in an unexpected pickle. The keys to the store were dropped into his lap and, in turn, so was the store. With no promise of income in sight, he pondered over what to do for 3 hours before it dawned on him… This was a failure for Penny Profits, but an opportunity for him and his building! Joe flipped through the Atlanta Yellow Pages in search of inspiration and convenience store names. He combined two names from pioneer convenience stores and just like that, Git’N Go was born with nothin’ more than one cashier leftover from Penny Profits and an old shoebox as a cash register.
In the beginning
In the beginning, Git’N Go was represented by our logo, Garrett, who if you are old enough you probably saw in all our original signs and advertisements and who stood for more than just a brand name. Garrett was born out of love and onto a napkin. With just a pencil in hand and an idea in mind, Joe came up with Garrett as a way to represent the simplicity of small-town life. Today, a big orange “G” stands where Garrett stood, but his spirit is always alive in our Git’N Go pride.
Since Garrett, you could say a lot has happened. Git’N Go has taken Joe on one helluva roller-coaster ride — and where there’s hell, there’s fire. That’s right, the original store caught fire and burned to the ground due to a subcontractor’s faulty electric wiring. A “sure-fire” failure, some may call it! But you can bet your bottom dollar it didn’t keep Joe down. With a new design in mind, he not only rebuilt, but built an additional 3 stores throughout the Anderson County community!
All 4 new locations were built with all-glass storefronts – leading to Joe’s next unforeseen challenge and Git’N Go’s next failure. “We never envisioned that we would need to stop cars from driving across the front sidewalk, through the glass, and into the stores,” Joe recalls. Over the following years, there have been 3 different Git’N Go storefront car accidents — one in which the driver drove his car all the way into the store, stepped out of the wrecked vehicle and asked the employees, “What happened?” (as the display of 2 liter Coke bottles were exploding all around him) I think we can all appreciate a good drink, but really? At this point, Joe just needed to catch a break.
Unfortunately, failure doesn’t take breaks. It comes in small waves and often takes you by surprise. For instance, if you don’t install “breakaway” hoses on your gas pumps, there’s a good chance failure’s just around the corner. At least that’s what Joe learned from Git’N Go, whose stores have had more than their fair share of “hard learned” lessons. Several times, customers have driven off with the hose still attached to their vehicle — taking the whole gas pump with them, only stopping after hearing the loud noise of the pump dragging behind them!
After rollin’ out the duct tape to fix the pumps (figuratively speaking), Joe decided it was the perfect time to expand Git’N Go further by adding public restrooms. It may sound like a simple thing, but after opening the stores without them, it was a huge renovation change. After one customer pointed out that Joe was failing to see the opportunity in restrooms, he rose to the challenge and made the necessary additions. He took clean restrooms to the extreme and quickly became the annual stop for discerning ladies traveling I-75. I mean seriously, have you seen the ladies room at the interstate store? A small win, but a prideful win for him and his customers nonetheless!
Our Rebellious Nature
Pride comes in many shapes and forms and when it comes to Git’N Go, it’s everywhere — even in two “cease and desist” orders Joe and his team have acquired over the years. The first of which was gifted to Git’N Go from Kroger over our ads claiming that the stores were “baby Krogers just waiting to grow up.” Though being proud enough to say that our stores have such potential, Kroger officials failed to find the humor. We discontinued the slogan, but not the comparison of prices. The other “cease and desist” came from Baskin Robbins, when Git’N Go advertisements announced the use of the same ice cream manufacturer, thus selling Baskin Robbins Ice Cream. They took the competition hard and called for immediate action, so Git’N Go renamed their ice cream “Raskin Bobbins” as a compromise. What can we say… we’re rebellious by nature — and we love it!
The Git’N Go legend continued to bring new successes and failures of all sizes. Like a stiff weasel, another failure popped up in the form of The Corner Peddler, a Git’N Go gift shop that lived inside only one of the four stores. The gift shop had sold a mere $200 in 6 months and showed little promise of improving. So, like he’d done many times before, Joe looked for opportunity in the failure. At the time, Git’N Go deli food consisted solely of hot dogs. After taking a customer’s suggestion and bringin’ in some new equipment, Git’N Go began selling hamburgers. Soon, the failed gift shop had been re-born as Git’N Go’s first deli, and man was Joe and his team proud! The deli continued to expand into all four stores and into what customers know and love and has sold over 13,000,000 dogs in a town of only 10,000 “cats” — that’s 1,300 hot dogs per person! Next time you stop at a Git’N Go deli, take a whiff. Get lost in the smell of success — and a whole lotta delicious food.
At the end of the day, Joe knows failure. Some may say he’s struggled, but he says life is a challenge. He uses his failures as reminders that it takes hard work, flexibility, and creativity to succeed in both business and in life. That, and a big ol’ rebellious spirit!
“Be proud of your failures because they can lead to your biggest successes.”
– Joe Hollingsworth, Jr.