perseverance leads to success
and partners own many
area properties, businesses
(February 2010) Harry Dobbins needed a job
when he dropped out of high school at 17 years old, so he took a job
at Wendys as a fry cook. For the next 31 years, Dobbins, who later
finished his education during a short two-year stint in the U.S. Marine
Corp, worked hard to climb up the corporate ladder.
by Konnie McCollum
Dobbins, co-owner of
the Downtowner restaurant,
enjoys the restaurant business,
which he has been involved
in for most of his life.
He spent 26 years of that Wendys career in Madison,
Ind., and when he retired as district manager, he was ready to invest
some of his hard-earned funds into his own business. Today, Dobbins,
originally from Cartersville, Ga., is a successful entrepreneur and
businessman who owns many properties and businesses on the hilltop and
throughout the downtown area.
While he isnt quite sure he has reached successful
status, he knows that it takes hard work and dedication to get there.
You take what you can get when you drop out of school, said
Dobbins, 53. I started at the bottom and worked my way up, and
well, Im still working to be successful.
With an arms list of successful businesses to his credit, most
people would agree that Dobbins has, indeed, gotten there.
After retiring from Wendys, he opened Collectors Corner,
a retail collectibles business, on the hilltop. Stacey Fields
parents owned a business next door. Field was one of Dobbins best
customers at Collectors Corner.
I told him he already had bought half the stuff in there, so he
might as well invest in the business, said Dobbins.
Field said his parents admired Dobbins and thought his sense of business
was excellent. They wanted me to go into the restaurant business
with him because of his expertise.
At that point, Dobbins heard that Mr. Gattis Pizza, 330 Clifty
Dr., was for sale. After careful consideration, Dobbins and Field bought
the business together, and thus began their profitable partnership.
Dobbins will give you the shirt off his back if you need it,
said Field. Thats just the kind of guy he is. Honestly,
there may be people out there that disagree with him on something, but
Ive never met anyone that doesnt like him. He is such a
Field said that recently he and Dobbins had traveled to Cincinnati to
look over some restaurant equipment. While there, they met a man with
a group of disadvantaged kids who were working on a shabby building.
The man explained what they were doing and said the group had
big intentions with little money.
Dobbins bought every single one of them lunch, said Field.
He is the kind of guy that if there is a problem, he wants to
know about it so he can fix it. Thats what makes him successful.
Together, the partners own Mr. Gattis, Café Dolfi, the
former Rogers Corner, Riverwest Antique Mall, a bed and breakfast,
and several other downtown properties.
The partners have recently closed Rogers Corner and plan to completely
transform it into the new Shooters Sports Bar and Grill.
Weve gutted the place and are doing some major renovations,
like expanding the restrooms and updating the facility, said Dobbins.
They plan to open the family oriented restaurant by mid-spring. It will
feature a full dining facility and separate bar area.
We are excited about this, he said. We think it is
going to be a great thing for the community.
While he is constantly on the watch for future investments throughout
the entire community, he has concentrated much of his activity in the
historic downtown area.
Theres something about downtown, he said. It
offers a lot with tourism and the atmosphere.
Dobbins has another partner in investment properties. He and Glen Perkins
of Milton, Ky., recently purchased the former Jendys Pizza building
at the corner of Main and Cragmont streets, and the former Local Harvest
Market building on West Main Street. They also own Scottsburg, Ind.s
Top Nosh restaurant.
Carrollton, Ky., businessman Julio Terez plans to open La Rosita Mexican
Restaurant and a Mexican grocery store in the former Local Harvest Market
building. Terez said the restaurant and grocery will be open by early
The owner of North Vernons Pizza Kingdom has leased the former
Jendys building and plans to open a Pizza Kingdom there, said
While Dobbins refers to himself as a restaurant man, he
does have an avid interest in antiques and collectibles. One of his
favorite things to do is visit estate sales to see what treasures he
can find. Its a great hobby, and I have a lot of fun with
it, he said.
While some downtown business owners are worried that the anticipated
Milton-Madison Bridge closure in 2011 will be a huge problem for them,
Dobbins isnt fretting about it.
We will be ready for it, and we plan to stay on top of things,
said Dobbins. We have a good local customer base, and Im
optimistic that tourists will still find us. We plan to still be here
when the bridge re-opens.
He believes the reason he has been successful is because Madison is
open and accepting. If you do a good job, people will come,
he said. Take care of customers, and the business will take care
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