by Jim Gehman
He also looked at what was happening to the city’s automotive industry and how it was being handled.
“They were us against the economy of the country and it was changing.” Thrower said. “Lee Iacocca was making great strides and changes (as chairman) for the Chrysler Corporation. And being a former player for the Lions as well as the (Philadelphia) Eagles, I saw the Ford family (who own the Lions) making decisions as to how they would turnabout their part of the automobile industry. It was interesting.
“I wanted to make sure I got into a business where I could be somewhat hands-on and give my energy the same way that they gave their energies to the automotive industry. That’s the only way that you’re going to progress and move to the top.”
Thrower’s first step toward the top was by going through a thorough training program with one of the most highly successful franchises in the country – McDonald’s.
“The first restaurant was at Mack (Avenue) and I-75 in Detroit,” he said. “I-75 is sort of in the center of Detroit. It separates the east from the west and the north from the south. Everyone gets their directions from Mack and I-75.”
That was the first. Today, Thrower’s organization, Jamjomar, Inc., owns 29 McDonald’s restaurants in Michigan and Louisiana.
“All of my family members are involved in the restaurants,” Thrower said. “That’s my wife, Marla, and my four kids; James II, Jamar, Joni and Marissa. They all have stores under Jamjomar, Inc.
“I can’t tell you how privileged I am and how excited I am that my family is a part of building the legacy that we will have in years to come. Not only for my kids, but for my kids’ kids. That’s the way that we’ve always tried to look at things.
“My father told me years ago, ‘Just don’t do things for yourself, but do things for your kids. So therefore, if you can do things for your kids and their kids, you’re two generations ahead.’”
Thrower’s organization employs a little more than 1,200 people, and he feels they are a significant key to its success.
“We know that we are only as strong as the individuals that we hire,” Thrower said. “And we know for the most part, our young people, McDonald’s is their first job. So we try to teach them, coming from their homes, the proper way to do things. If we train them right early on, we are helping not only to set their life patterns, but we are also helping to set the pattern for our communities.
“We strive hard to be superior. If we fail, it will be mere excellence. That’s the attitude that we all take. We work at it hard. It’s a hard business. You have to please people all the time.”