By Michael Schaffer - Managing editor
Joseph Frank Cardani and his wife, Shirley, started something in Centerville no one else had and this Sunday Joe's Quick Shop will celebrate its 50th anniversary.
Joe's Quick Shop plans a special 50th anniversary Sunday, March 17 from 1-5 p.m. with several special sales and prize giveaways.
Centerville's first convenience store has changed names, appearances and even the goods they sell, but one thing that hasn't changed is their devotion to customer service.
Tuesday afternoon, Joe and Shirley's children, Mike Cardani, 42 and Deb McConville, 60 said customer service was something Joe valued and something they continue today.
Mike said his father knew each customer by name.
Deb said her father and Joe's Quick Shop didn't offer anything not found at other convenience stores in Centerville except personal customer service.
"People know we appreciate them being here," Mike said.
Joe enjoyed his customers and greeted them all by name. In fact, it would be more appropriate to call his customers his extended family.
"He had a connection to all of the people who came into here," Deb said. "And they loved him. I don't think he realized the impact he had on people."
Deb said her father had one hobby. It was called Joe's Quick Shop.
Joe so much wanted to see the 50th anniversary of the store, Mike said.
"I feel guilty doing a 50 year anniversary without him because this was his love, his passion, his hobby," Deb said. "It's going to be very bitter sweet."
Both Mike and Deb said when they come to work they can still see their father walking the aisles.
Deb said she still does things the way her father taught her 50 years ago because it works. She agreed Joe still lives on in the store because they continue to run the business the same way with an emphasis on customer service.
"We appreciate the communities loyalty over the last 50 years," Deb said. "We've seen three generations of families come in."
One aspect of their father's life they were unaware of was his unselfish generosity. If a person was in trouble and needed help money wise, Joe in the background would help them, many times anonymously.
"We never knew anything about it," Deb said. "The bottom line is, he wanted to give, because we've been very fortunate here. I mean, it's been a lot of hard work but we've been very fortunate. And he wanted to give back. He never forgot where he came from."
Deb and Mike took over the family business in 2012, even though Joe was letting go for the last three to four years and Shirley still did a lot of the office work.
The store now known as Joe's Quick Shop didn't start out with that name but it hasn't changed locations.
In 1963, Joe purchased a business known as Main Street Market and had the building remodeled. On March 17, 1963 it opened under the management of Joe and Shirley Cardani as Quick Shop Superette.
At one point in the 1970s and 1980s it was called Joe's 7-11 Quick Shop Foods. An advertisement in the March 24, 1983 Daily Iowegian shows the name was changed to Joe's 6-11 Quick Shop.
A new building was constructed in 1977 and in 2003 they added on and held a grand opening after 40 years of business.
Getting back to Centerville in 1963 meant many things, like Joe quitting his salesmans job with Meadow Gold and how to find a way to get his family back to Centerville from Hobbs, N.M. to start his dream.
It was in New Mexico that Joe discovered the idea of a 7-11 convenience store chain. Joe and Shirley made the decision that they would move their family back to Centerville, with the help of Bennie and Joe Belloma.
"When he quit Meadow Gold, they were stuck. They didn't have any money to come back on." Mike said. "And Bennie Belloma and Joe Belloma hauled them back here and their furniture on a fruit truck."
Once back to Centerville, Joe needed financing to open his store. The bank turned him down for a loan.
Joe approached several friends in Centerville and they loaned him the money to get started.
Deb said it was a struggle in the early years as people said they wouldn't make it. She said she was about 10 or 11 when she first started working at the store.
"Basically, we started out and it was a very small beginning," Deb said. "It was scary. I remember it was scary."
Joe lived to work and he wanted to be sure things were being done his way.
"He worked his ass off," Mike said. "He worked until the day he died."
Joe's employees eight full-time and one part-time worker.
Joe's is open from 5:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Sunday. They are located at 1023 S. Main St.
Shirley, born and raised in Centerville, graduated from Centerville High School in 1947. Joe, born in “Shanty Town,” Numa, attended school in both Numa and Centerville before graduating from Centerville High School in 1947.
During high school, Shirley and Joe began dating, and upon graduation, they were married on Jan. 3, 1948 in Centerville. They lived in Kansas City until March of 1948 and in Davenport, Council Bluffs, Hobbs, N.M. and then back home to Centerville to establish the convenience store.
Joe tended to the daily business at the store and Shirley worked behind the scenes in the office and continued to manage the office until the time of her death.
During Joe and Shirley’s 64 year marriage, they welcomed into their life five children, Kathy, Debbie, Julie, Linda and Michael.
Daughters Kathy, Julie and Linda Cardani preceded Joe and Shirley in death.
Shirley Cardani passed away Monday, Dec. 3, 2012 at the age of 82.
Joe Cardani passed away Nov. 1, 2012 at the age of 84.