When Jim Gronemann’s father told him it was time for the teenager’s first job back in 1984, little did Gronemann know that that part-time delivery driver job at a Domino’s Pizza in Joliet, Illinois would turn into a long career that has reached far into Northwest Indiana.
Domino’s, a nationwide pizza chain, was founded in 1960 as a small, local pizza place. Over the next twenty years, hundreds of Domino’s franchises had opened up around the country, the 200th storefront opening in 1978. Five years later, the 1,000th store opened, cementing Domino’s as one of the leading pizza chains in the U.S.
Cut to a year later when Gronemann applied for a delivery driver position at his local store. He worked there through high school, an experience he thoroughly enjoyed as it allowed him to see more of his community and meet new people every day. From there, he worked his way up the ladder, eventually becoming store manager.
After years of working for a franchise, however, Gronemann knew it was time to take the next step. He bought his first store in 1990, six years after he started his Domino’s career as a delivery driver.
“That is something I have always respected and appreciated about the company: the opportunity they gave me to work in multiple positions throughout my career,” Gronemann said. “It gave me great insight into how to run my own store and how to be a leader for my employees.”
“If I have a driver bringing an order to someone who isn’t answering their door or phone, I know how to deal with that situation, because I, too, dealt with that situation as a driver,” he continued. “I can help and offer insight, rather than say, ‘I don’t know, just keep trying.’ The understanding I have of how each position works and how the store as a whole works are things I learned in those six years, which I’m very grateful for.”
Gronemann now has over 21 locations throughout the Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana region, including a new location opening in Hobart this fall.
“I’m excited to bring our company to Hobart, which hasn’t had a Domino’s in years,” he said. “Hobart is a great city, and we have plans to do a few things we have never done before.”
Because of Hobart’s bike and golf cart friendly nature, Gronemann and his team plan to bring new ways to deliver pizza to customers. From electric bikes to golf carts, Hobart’s new pizza place is prepared to make delivery more streamlined, an important service as the Region continues to grapple with the COVID-19 crisis and the social distancing regulations in place.
“We also are doing ‘curbside delivery,’ where people can pull up to the store and we bring out their order right to their car,” Gronemann said.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Domino’s corporation immediately got to work searching for the best course of action to keep both customers and employees safe. Masks are required for everyone, sanitization takes place every day, and social distancing is observed in all stores.
“We are doing our part to keep everyone safe while continuing to serve the community,” he said.
Gronemann and his team have been serving the community in more ways than one. Gronemann saw a unique opportunity to help his Northwest Indiana community, which lead to him reaching out to banks, hospitals, government employees, and more to see how he can help. He even worked with the La Porte County School Corporation to bring pizzas to families and children through the district’s meal program
“We also partnered with Harley-Davidson of Valparaiso twice to bring pizza to community members,” Gronemann said. “We partnered with Harley-Davidson, along with a few other pizza places in the area, for a special pizza-giveaway that brought the community together for a fun afternoon. A month later, we partnered with Harley-Davison again, this time bringing over 300 pizzas to Valparaiso residents.”
“We want to do what we can to help people during this really difficult time in our lives,” he said. “The people in Northwest Indiana are special—they’re good people, so we want to forge that connection with them.”
Gronemann connects with people every day—he even still goes on pizza delivery runs from time to time. He also is a producer and star of a well-known morning show on 93.9 that he produces every weekday morning in Chicago.
For more information about Domino’s, or to place an order, visit their website here at https://www.dominos.com/en/. You never know—Jim Gronemann may be your next delivery driver!