When Jacki Johnson’s husband Jeff answered to the United States Marines slogan, ‘Looking For A Few Good Men,’ she knew that the call to service and personal excellence was not confined to Americans who enlisted to wear the uniform. In a way, Jacki answered the call as a military wife, adopting the spirit of service and commitment as her own personal creed. As she adapted to the nomadic nature of a military spouse, required to move from base to base whenever her husband was reassigned, she seized upon the opportunity to absorb as much experience from her travels as she possibly could.
“I took advantage of the opportunity to work for several different companies,” she says. “I’ve always felt it is important to continue to educate yourself, and that’s what I did with each new job.” Among the skills she acquired was tax preparation as she attended several federal income tax courses that enabled her to help prepare with the filing of military personnel’s taxes. Eventually, she ventured into doing the same for other individuals’ and small businesses’ returns, with her confidence and experience growing enough to encourage her to take the logical next steps of starting her own business. By 1996, Jacki and her husband had settled in Rochester, where she began to ply her trade out of a home office. By 2002, her clientele had grown so much that she moved the business to downtown, and two years later, Tidewater Executive Tax Service settled into the Main Street location where she operates to this day. “We are a very hometown office,” she says. “We are laid back and approachable without sacrificing being professional, and we always go above and beyond for the client.” Asked about some of the keys to her success, Jacki does not hesitate to share some important advice: “Treating people with respect and kindness is the key to every business relationship; and always give back to the community that you serve. Without them, your business would not succeed.”
But it is the company credo that truly sums up the importance of the relationships between the employees, the customers, and the community itself, and Jacki takes it very seriously: ‘Tidewater…Where Everyone Counts’ www.tidewater-tax.com
As ambition leads to growth, growth often leads to the need for more space in order to branch out and realize the possibilities of your work and dreams. The Belle Chasse (pronounced ‘bell chase’) Party Venue is a place that provides the literal space that can be rented by people who need an ideal location to get the most out of their own events and gatherings. In May of 2011, Jacki and Jeff Johnson had taken over the location with the intent to make it available as a retail space. While waiting to find a commercial tenant, they decided to rent it out as an event venue. The popularity of, and demand for, the address as a place to hold parties, meetings, and other gatherings was greater than they’d anticipated, so they decided to continue to use it for that purpose. “The space has been used for parties, bridal/baby showers, yoga teacher training, graduation parties, and more,” says Jacki. In addition to commercial availability, the Belle Chasse is also used as a hub for community activities that might otherwise be hard to arrange in another space. Key among them for the Johnson's is the Fulton County Pack A Back Pack program, a non-profit organization that provides much needed backpacks and school supplies to local children in need. They have also branched out into donating coats and personal hygiene products to low income families who need them. “I took over the program in 2006,” Jacki explains. “As a child, I remember the feeling of not having the things I needed to start school prepared, and I didn’t want any child to experience that, so I decided to step up and help. And I do it backed up by a board made up of my family and my staff, as well as other volunteers who dedicate their time to make the program a success,” While Tidewater is home to Fulton County Pack A Back Pack, the Belle Chasse is where volunteers help fill the backpacks, and a distribution event takes place a week before the start of the school year. If you are interested in helping with Fulton County Pack A Back Pack, contact Jacki. Monetary donations are the most helpful, but donations of materials will not be turned away, and volunteers are always welcome.
If you need a place to hold your next get-together, check out the Belle Chasse Party Venue website, or, find them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/Bellechassevenue.