Jim’s Pizza is a McKinney original, a one of a kind pizza place started by owner Jim Connolly in 1969. Jim’s was the very first pizza restaurant in McKinney. Before he opened Jim’s Pizza he was a college student and a manager of a Richardson Pizza Inn. The late Ted Mann, a McKinney businessman and owner of Manns Drive In, gave Jim the idea of opening a pizza restaurant in McKinney, which at the time only had about 15,000 residents.
Mr. Mann found an empty building on Tennessee street and kept encouraging Jim to come to McKinney. To get the money to open his business, Jim called on a McKinney bank, owned by the Wisenant family. Jim didn’t know what a business plan was, but the bank gave him the capital to start the business. Jim had a full head of dark hair and was 24 years old when the store opened. The response to the restaurant was overwhelming from the first day. People were actually waiting outside for the door to open. Large pizzas were selling for $2.50 and the all you can eat buffet was a decade away. Jim’s is a true family business. His wife Tina, worked in the restaurant along side Jim until their daughter Sherry was born in 1971. Tina stayed home with their daughter and continued to help out with the business doing the bookkeeping and payroll at home. Then in 1981 their son Scott was born and while Tina continued to keep track of all the books and employees, Sherry and Scott went on to work in the restaurant as soon as we were tall enough. Jim also has four grandchildren, ages 9-15yrs and they love to work with “Pop Pop”
Jim is a “hands on” owner who is accessible to customers, mainly because he is always there at the store doing everything. He is constantly making sure that the pizza is perfect and that his customers are satisfied. Jim credits his hard working nature to his father; and I credit my desire for perfection and hard work to my father, Jim. I think a great work ethic together with a great product is the recipe of Jim's success. Many grown men come in with their families to eat and tell me stories about the old days when Jim gave them their first job. They also tell me what a good boss he was. Jim has employed over 500 McKinney residents in his 40 years of business.
In 2006 Jim's Pizza was the winner of the first place award in the McKinney Courier-Gazettes Readers Choice Awards for “Best Pizza Restaurant.” And here we are tonight, in 2010 presenting The Small Business of the Year award To Jim. May he have many more years of great pizza ahead of him.