Some people measure success by the type of car they drive, the house they live in or the clothes they wear. Others think success is directly proportional to the amount of money they make. But for some, success is not what you receive, it’s what you give back.
If the latter is the true definition of success then Doug Thomas, the owner and operator of BOGO Sandwiches, could be the most successful man in Farmington.
Celebrating his fifth year in business, Thomas is still following his original business plan of giving back to the community. For every sandwich he sells, another sandwich is given to a local charity - hence the name “BOGO” ... Buy One, Give One.
But when the shop first opened at 12 S. Jackson St., Thomas may have been a little worried. He said people were not lining up to buy sandwiches.
“We opened that first day with my grandma and mom helping out,” Thomas said. “The only ones who showed up were those who knew us from church, our circle of friends and family. I think the people from Sweetheart Chocolate may have (come in). I would go talk to them almost every day when I was getting the shop ready to open.”
Although the sandwich shop may now be a permanent fixture in downtown Farmington, Thomas said they had a lot of down time those first few months.
“We started out selling 30-35 sandwiches,” Thomas said. “I remember the first day we made 100 sandwiches. I was like dead. Two weeks ago I did 160 sandwiches in half the time.”
Although the business plan hasn’t changed, Thomas decided to expand the store by taking advantage of the space next door and began offering a place for patrons to sit down and enjoy their lunch.
“Expanding wasn’t even on (the) horizon or even in my thoughts,” Thomas said. “The tenant who was there moved out in November 2016, and the gentleman who owns the building asked if I would be interested in the space. I told him to give me some time to think.”
About a month later Thomas decided it was time to expand BOGO, so after some negotiating he took on the space adjacent to his shop.
“In December I began thinking I could make it work,” Thomas said. “I had a pretty simple idea I had sketched out.”
Part of the agreement reached between Thomas and the landlord entailed Thomas giving the new space a complete face-lift in exchange for free rent for a few months while construction was underway.
Part of the arrangement meant Thomas would put in a new bathroom that was handicap accessible, among other things.
“I got hustling and tore out a wall, built another one. It was mostly aesthetics,” Thomas said. “We did most of the work ourselves. My dad owns a plaster company, so he did the walls in like a day. We left the floor and just buffed them out. My father-in-law did a lot of work on the tables and chairs and even made the light fixtures.”
For Thomas, the expansion was just another example of his family pulling together. Along with his father and father-in-law helping remodel, his mother, Debbie Thomas, and his grandmother, Jane Christian, have been a big part of the shop's success.
“Grandma started out with us. She got us going,” Thomas said. “Mom still helps as well. I could not have done this without any of them.”