Meet the Mayor

In the 1880s, grocers James Franklin Goodson and his brother Milton were just looking for a better-tasting coffee. Before they knew it, the Goodson name was synonymous with good coffee taste.

The Mayor Makes Coffee

In the 1880s, grocers James Franklin Goodson and his brother Milton ordered their first shipment of green coffee beans and began the search for great coffee taste—a quest that has spanned continents, involved five generations of Goodsons and lasted for more than 120 years.

James came from very humble beginnings, doing farm work in exchange for room and board and eventually working in a grocery store where he not only meet his future wife, Hattie Turley, but also saved enough money to open his own business, J.F. Goodson Wholesale Groceries. In later life, James said that many “have little conception of what it means to start with absolutely nothing and work hard for every penny. And yet I feel mine was a very valuable experience and I am thankful for it.”

A progressive believer in the future of his adopted home of Morristown, TN, James eventually became the town’s mayor, overseeing the establishment of the county fair and the municipal water system. The town’s water works was considered a national model for both function and management. Through his civic work and his business travels, James became known both locally and nationally as a man of integrity and intelligence. A 1908 article in The American Grocer magazine recapped one of James’ frequent visits to the coffee district and said of him, “It is refreshing to meet with one of the old time merchants who, while not forgetting the strict rules that govern business, at the same time throws around it a mellowness and charm that is truly refreshing.”


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