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Last Update: Monday September 20, 2021

Key Idea: Be Generous

All of the  business owners we know are gracious and generous however Darlene has won more recognition for her contributions to the community than most.  More...

Key Question:


A generous, gracious person can attract customers and employees and at the same time build positive, productive relations with suppliers.  Being generous doesn't mean you are a pushover.  It means you give people the benefit of the doubt,  you accommodate the personal schedules of everyone with whom you work, you try to put yourself in the other fellow's shoes, and, you may pay a little more than others.

Making money is not the only thing in life. Darlene, like so many small business owners, wants to make a difference in the world. When there are opportunities to serve, Darlene volunteers. It is satisfying for a person who has achieved so much success to give back to the place where that success has been achieved. These efforts cannot be measured in dollars but they are measured in good feelings.

Marc Katz, owner of Katz's Deli in Austin, Texas told us that he  learned in life that when he gives, it comes back to him. The people or the charity he gives to end up circling back to do business with him. Sometimes, someone connected to someone Marc donated to comes to him to do business.

Marc also said he is a big plagiarizer. This means he steals ideas and he doesn't steal ideas from small business, he steals them from big business. His lifetime guarantee idea came from the idea of the "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval."

His strong commitment to charities comes from studying big foundations. He reminds us that people who run big businesses are, "not stupid." Big businesses establish foundations and other programs to assist those in need because it always pays to be nice.

Other business owners we know who subscribe to this strategy talk about it as the way they launched themselves in business.

Why is volunteering to work with a non-profit organization good for the soul and also such a good marketing technique?

A: Albert Black is founder of On Target Supplies and Logistics. His passion is community service and by accident he found this to be his best marketing strategy. Albert gives of himself because he loves people and love life. Yet, when you want to sell something, it is difficult to know who actually has the checkbook!

When you work on a good cause, you will meet people who will often tell you who they know and who might possibly be your next customers. Albert worked with the Chamber of Commerce and when he received an award for service, John Castle was present at the event. Today, John Castle is on Albert's board. John also leads EDS, one of the country's largest companies, and as you might guess, EDS is now one of Albert's customers, too.

Think about it

What have you given in the past? What can you give? What should you give? 

Clip from: Jet-a-way

Host-producer, Hattie Bryant, with Jesse Jeter, the son of the founders

Boston: In this episode of the show we take you inside Jet-A-Way, a recycling company for construction and demolition waste, commercial waste, and recycled paper. They are also a transportation company to pick it all up and, then when it is all sorted, to bring it to refinement centers and sanitary landfills.  You'll meet Darlene Jeter and her family. 

Darlene and her husband have been recognized by their community and by the nation for their achievements.

With over $10 million in sales and 50 employees, this business has been in  operation since 1969.  Darlene has endured enormous setbacks -- the death of the love of her life,  her husband and business partner -- and major swings in the construction business in Boston. It is a dusty, tough industry. There is a lot of heavy metal -- trucks, tractors, and front-end loaders. Darlene not only survives, she thrives with grace and dignity.

Darlene Jeter has tenacity. No moaning, blubbering, sniveling, whimpering or whining; she gets the job done and then gives back to her community.

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Jet-A-Way, Inc.

Darlene Jeter, CEO

47 Kemble Street
Roxbury, MA 02119

Visit our web site:

Business Classification:
transportation, waste management, recycling

Year Founded: 1968

Be Generous

HATTIE: (Lightbulb in the Studio)  Nearly every day, someone asks us how we select the content of each program. How do we find these fabulous people? It is hard because there are 23 million of us small business owners. The answer is, "We look for people who've been recognized by their communities as outstanding." We couldn't possibly select the quality from a distance, so we depend on the local Small Business Administration, the local Chamber of Commerce and the local trade associations to tell us.

When we started digging into the Boston business community, Darlene's name came up everywhere. Twenty years ago, Jet-A-Way was named Small Business of the Year from the state of Massachusetts, and the Jeters went to Washington to be honored by the president of the United States. Just last year, the Greater Boston Chamber recognized Jet-A-Way. We have found that awards aren't passed out to the selfish. It is a given if you are going to be recognized in the business community that you are financially strong. The common quality we have found in business leaders who are singled out for recognition by their peers is generosity.

Darlene did not set out to be applauded. She sees a need and works to fill it. She's sees a problem and finds a solution. The byproduct of this generous spirit is recognition.

Would you like more advice on starting, running or growing a business? Go further inside all of the resources found on Darlene Jeter's and Jet-a-way's reference page.

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