by Russell Turley
Jeff Good goes by many names:Â restaurateur, consultant, and entrepreneur. Although, if you ask him, he characterizes himself first and foremost as a marketer. His ability to market his brand is the primary reason Good has become one of Jackson’s most well- known “celebrities.” Looking deeper, what really sets him apart is how he uses his brand to be a positive influence in the greater community.
Most would be surprised to learn that Good was not born and raised in the capital city. Born in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, his family headed west to Salt Lake City, Utah when he was a first grader. The Good family made their move to Jackson when Jeff’s father was hired as Dean of Students at Millsaps College the summer before his senior year of high school.
After graduating from Murrah High School, he headed across the street to Millsaps College where he majored in business and met his bride to be, Debbie.
After graduating Good struggled to find himself. He achieved moderate success in sales until his employer decided to close its lone Jackson office. Jeff then made a phone call to one of his Murrah classmates, Dan Blumenthal. Jeff and Dan spent the next two years sharing a business plan for a fine-dining restaurant with anyone who would listen. Eventually forty-four investors came on board to open Bravo in 1994.
Since then the entrepreneur has not taken the foot off of the accelerator. His company, Mangia Bene, has three successful restaurants in Jackson, BRAVO!, Broad Street Baking Co., and Fondren favorite Sal & Mookie’s.
A positive advocate for the greater Jackson community, Good is a firm believer of concept he calls “community identity.” Jeff explains community identity as “a place where business owners and residents embrace the idea of valuing community over self.”
“I am very proud that Fondren has become the model for what other communities in Jackson aspire to become,” he says.
Over the years, Good has contributed in countless ways to the betterment of the Jackson community. He and Debbie have restored and resold numerous Fondren homes that have fallen into neglect. When called upon to serve, Jeff rarely falters. He has served on numerous boards, emceed countless charitable functions, and has vocally supported local political initiatives.
Although, according to Good, he is most proud of the investment he makes into his 205 employees on a daily basis. As he puts it, “My goal every day is for my team to view me as an authentic leader defined by hard work, positivity and honesty.”
By committing to these principles he feels he can elevate those around him. He is steadfast that his investment in people will ultimately be the most valuable contribution he can make back into the community.