We visited our favorite pizza window in downtown Columbia, Pizza Tree.
We had the opportunity to talk to Johnny the founder and owner of Pizza Tree. He told us all about what he loves about Pizza Tree and how others can enjoy it too.
“Everything I’ve ever done is based on relationships, because we need one another. Nobody’s here alone. Nobody’s on an island. And that’s a very lonesome place to be if you feel like that. So we need one another.”
So the first question would just be kind of an introduction. Who are you? What is your company, and who is Greg DeLine?
So I came to Columbia in 1974. I actually came to go to school at MU and got married at that time. And so I needed to produce some income. And so I went to work at a finance company. And then I, the big key for me, it’s always been hard work. And so I just kind of impress folks with that. And so I got the notice of a bank in town, Boone County Bank, which is now the central bank of Boone County. So I worked there for about seven years. And I just saw a lot of entrepreneurial people that I respected. They did a lot of cool things. And so I thought, wow, that’d be nice. And so I did that. And I borrowed $10,000, from my father in law at the time. And I said, I did some work for him. And I said, I will, if you’ll give me $10,000 For a year, I’ll give it back to you. And the interest on that will be my work for you. And so we did and it worked out. And so I got into the manufactured housing business. And I opened a manufactured housing, retail dealership. And so that then, I’ve always been a guy that I think it’s smart to diversify. And because market conditions change. And I think we’ve all seen that. It’s been changing fast over the last few years. And that’s normally not what happens. But it is now I say a lot. I say nothing can happen that hadn’t happened in 40 years, and oh my gosh, it’s about happened. So some really crazy things happen in the new economy and whatever. So anyway, so diversification is important. And I think smart. And so that’s what I’ve done is I’ve kind of consistently, I tell people all the time, I’m up for anything makes sense. And give me a reason. So that makes sense to me. And I can see a good reason that I do. I watched a lot of Shark Tank. So I’ve done some shark tank models. And I think overall, I’m a Christian guy. And so I believe in giving back. And so I have my my tag with that is that I want to leave the world better than I found it. So I love to empower the folks and I love to give back I’m very involved with several 501 C threes in town. And specifically, two of them that come to mind and love Columbia, which serves a poverty in our city and in Phoenix programs, which helps drug and alcohol addiction
What made you choose to establish yourself and your businesses in the downtown Columbia area?
Well, I came to town in 74. And I fell in love with Columbia. I mean, I love this place and it’s mostly I think that it’s diversified it’s it’s just big enough and just small enough about anything that you want to do you can do. And anything that you want to get involved with you can get involved with so it to me it’s a very, very right size. And I say that a lot with a lot of different things right size, it’s the right size community for me, and I think you can enjoy yourself and I think that you can prosper and and I think that you can find people to bless.
What aspects of owning your businesses in your companies are you most passionate about? Is it the relationships? Is it helping others realize what they want to do?
That’s a really great question. And that’s right. I say this a lot that everything I’ve ever done is based on relationships, because we need one another. Nobody’s here alone. Nobody’s on an island. And that’s a very lonesome place to be if you feel like that. So we need one another again. And so relationships I mean, it’s just I think hard work. It’s important. I think even millennials that have gotten into the computer age or whatever, they still want somebody to care they want somebody to look to and to be accountable. And so again that the relationship word, you hit a spot on it. That’s it. I love relationships, I love people, and I love to empower people. And I love to if I can be. If I can help somebody with some of my stories, I tell people a lot of times that I graduated from the school of hard knocks, okay, top of the class. And so I’ve just, I’ve just learned the rules of the world. And if I can share that with somebody and save them some pain, I’d love to do that.
How do you and your businesses under your umbrella enhance the broader Columbia community members?
Well, the most obvious is that I employ a lot of people. And so there’s a lot of families. I was thinking about that this morning, as matter of fact, actually, and I was telling my wife some of the things that are going on, and it’s a lot bigger than most people realize. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of six degrees of separation, but there’s a concept six degrees of separation, where there’s six different facilities, and Nope, none of them really know much about the other. That’s kind of the way I am. Some of the really, the businesses that I’ve done, interrelate, but some of them don’t. And so I think that, again, employing a fair number of people, blessing other people, for their livelihood, and income, or whatever it is, it’s something that I’m kind of proud of. Other than that, I mean, they are mostly service oriented. So I own a mortgage company, for instance, so and whatever I do, I want to be the best that I can be, I want to be the leader of the pack. And so the mortgage company, we try to do some things maybe for folks that really need some special service. I own a trucking company, and and so all the way down the line, just just try to be the best of the best.
You've touched a bit on your philanthropy. And now ask some of your companies that get that, could you just speak a little more on that?
You know, and I’ve said this a lot, that it’s easy to speak from the heart. And so again, with the overlying attitude for me is to leave the world better than I found it. And so and again, anything that I can do to help somebody else to benefit bless somebody else. I mean, why wouldn’t I, I mean, and I think that’s where so many people really missed the boat. It’s like, it’s not taking something from me to bless you. I mean, that’s, that’s just crazy thought to me, but, and maybe it’s just not a forward thought for a lot of people. But so I just really love Columbia. Again, it’s serving the poor poverty. And everybody needs a hand up, not a handout. So love Columbia tries to do that, to coach folks and to help them too, because bad things happen to good people, I mean, it doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person, just because you got trouble. Life’s hard. And you’ll see that as you get older, I’ve noticed that that, you know, life can be difficult. So anyway, so love Colombia, certainly Phoenix, I’ve got some history in my family with substance abuse, got some tragedy about that. So that feels a lot of my passion. And then, again, that we’ve got some things that that just really benefit the community. And I just want to be a good member, you know, and so, if I can do something that to help the community Why would not so in a very simple way, philanthropy to me comes in three ways, okay. You can either have money or you can know people have money and have influence over them. Or you can get by you, and the things that you can do service work, volunteer, whatever, so, so I tried to follow my own advice.
Is there anything else that you want consumers or the Columbia community to know about you and your companies?
I suppose if I was to say one thing, it is to, again, give good value for value received. It’s really that simple. I want to tell people a lot that I want to give folks everything they got common and sometimes a little bit more just depends on the situation