By Laurie Stone
This story is part of a News-Tribune weekly feature on business owners who have been at their respective business for five years or more.
The Paiz family has been feeding Portales for almost two decades at JJ’s Jumbo Burgers. Pete Paiz is continuing that tradition, as he has run the restaurant for the past eight years.
The dream of owning his own business has been a desire of his since he was younger. Never having a desire to attend college, at the age of 18, he stepped into the business world by running two gas stations.
After experiencing what it was like to own his own business, Paiz sold his two stations and began working for the ethanol plant as someone else’s employee.
About to transfer from the Portales ethanol plant to either Nebraska or Farmington, his father, Johnny Paiz Sr., announced his desire to retire and sell the business to his son.
“I like being my own boss,” said Paiz. “I take things more in stride now than when I worked for someone else. I don’t have to worry about someone being pleased with the solutions that I come up with for the everyday problems and pressures that arise.”
Paiz’s kids, Silver, Brandy and Sixto, help run the business, but it’s his father he credits for keeping him encouraged when difficult trials arise.
Paiz said the food business has posed to be much more difficult than running a gas station.
“It’s hard to figure out how to serve people and do it right.” he said. “With a gas station, you knew what the customers wanted, but when it comes to food sometimes it’s a little harder.”
The greatest obstacles Paiz has had to face while at JJ’s Jumbo Burgers are the weather, the knowledge of working with food and the challenges in finding loyal employees.
Paiz said his greatest memories are made at the restaurant because his children are able to work side by side with him. “I get to watch them grow,” he said.
Paiz steps into the role of father and boss when he and his children labor together, but his daughter Silver said she has gain a lot from the experience. “Having him as my boss and my father has taught me so much,” she said. “It’s his wisdom and positive attitude that educates us. When people leave here, they aren’t getting just a burger, but a smile and friendship in return.”
Paiz does not refer to himself as being a great businessman.
“My way of thinking isn’t to be on top,” he said. “I cater to each individual person that comes to the window for their food.”
Paiz said the future of JJ’s Jumbo Burgers will remain much like the present. He said the price of a jumbo burger with fries has stayed the same for two decades.
“I like the freedom, because I’m able to be with my kids and attend rodeos,” he said. “When your business grows larger, you lose what you once had that got you where you were.”