by Jenn LoConte
Jack and Jackie Shoemaker are true believers in love at first sight. Jack, once a drummer in the same band as Jackie’s brother, first met his future wife at her parents’ home. Sparks flew and an instant love connection was made. Even though the band eventually broke up, Jack and Jackie didn’t, and within four months, they were married. Fast forward 32 years and these sweethearts are still just as much in-love as they were the first day they met.
What’s the secret to their successful marriage? Jackie says, “The most important thing is maintaining your friendship. After raising our kids, (a son and daughter), and dealing with the day-in and day-out life struggles, that can easily disappear. It’s important to maintain your friendship even though you both change along the way.”
After getting married, Jack and Jackie moved from New Jersey to Easton, Pennsylvania, where they’ve lived ever since. Sharing a mutual interest in becoming entrepreneurs, they decided to each start their own businesses. Over the years, this dynamic duo grew their companies together through long hours, hard work, and dedication.
Jack, a Lehigh University graduate with a degree in Engineering, owns two businesses. First Order LLC, whose focus is on land surveying for large companies as well as real estate closings; and Valley Land Services that works with engineering clients in addition to land and office-based projects. What started out originally, as one business with three employees in 2007 has grown to over thirty and as Jack says, “We are bursting at the seams.”
Jackie, a book enthusiast all her life, bought an independent bookstore about 10 years ago, after being a stay-at-home mom to their two children, Daniel and Stephanie. Hooked on Books offers books in every genre. From gardening and crafts, to mysteries and thrillers, young adult, historical, diet, self help, and more, Jackie’s store has something for everyone. What started out as a small library in her home that her husband built for her, soon overflowed with books and they quickly ran out of room. Wanting to share her love of the printed word with others, she knew opening up a bookstore would accomplish just that, and the books would be affordable, too. Jackie said, “Paperbacks sell on average for $4.25. We also offer a trade policy; customers can trade their own books for store credit. We’re always searching for newer books, too, and visit book sales every winter to add to our selection.”
Over the years, they dabbled in investing their hard earned money. Some investments worked, some didn’t. As Jack says, “Most didn’t.” An avid listener to Bobby Gunther Walsh’s radio program, (Gunther is a popular on-air personality and spokesman, working for nearly 40 years in radio and television in the eastern PA region), for 20 years and a big supporter of his charities, Jack continuously heard about Gunther’s own Investing experience with Don Wenner and wondered if he was the real deal. He says, “I just thought the ads would die out after a while, like most eventually do. But time after time, they continued, even increased, and I was curious to learn more.” Jack and Jackie decided to attend a DLP Investor dinner event.
Interestingly enough and something that Jack and Jackie often refer to when describing Don’s character was what happened during that particular dinner. Jackie was disappointed when the restaurant ran out of beef, one of the dinner choices. Being somewhat of a selective eater, she was not interested in the other two options. Don, overhearing the conversation, immediately went to the kitchen and had them prepare Prime Rib, just for her. Jackie says, “Don didn’t know either of us but asked what he could do to help. He went out of his way for us, something that carries over, even today.” They also ran into Don a few months later at a convenience store. Not thinking he would recognize them, Jack and Jackie were pleasantly surprised when he immediately walked over and asked how they were doing, including asking about their two children and their dogs. They were clearly impressed.
Larry Hickernell Jr., Senior Investor Success Manager comments, “Jack and Jackie are a perfect example of how our valued investors become family here at DLP. Through listening and truly caring about our investors’ most important goals and priorities, we form a bond that in many instances transcends the business relationship and turns our friends into family. We are deeply invested in our investors’ success and strive to always keep this in mind as we continue welcoming new investors into our DLP family.”
After that first dinner, Jack made an appointment to learn even more about investing with DLP Capital Partners. Jackie remembers understanding everything that Don said. She comments, “The definitions and explanations that go along with investing are often difficult to understand. But, listening to Don explain everything was easy for me. It was common sense, smart investing.”
Jack was also impressed that no money was exchanged or even asked for at that first meeting. He says, “Don laid the cards out on the table, face up, total transparency. He answered every question we had and didn’t ask for a dime. We went home, thought about it, and called him the next day, ready to take the next step and begin investing with the DLP family.” And, family is how they describe investing with DLP. They say, “Everyone at DLP knows our names and greets us with open arms. It’s more of a family than an Investment group.” Jackie adds, “We feel like we’re treated like kings and queens.”
Jack is thrilled that after so many years, he’s finally found solid Investing. He says, “It’s not Wall Street, thankfully; that’s made up of a bunch of people who are trading other people’s money without having any idea of what they are doing. DLP offers strong real estate Investing – less risky and no volatility.”
Three years later, Jack and Jackie continue to grow their Investor portfolio with DLP Capital Partners. (They also sold their son’s home with DLP Realty). Thanks to DLP, they’re almost ready to retire. Jack continues, “It’s more than just investing. Don has helped me on a personal level, giving me direction that has helped me continue to run two successful companies. Even Jackie says that she tries to incorporate what she has learned from him with her own business in order to continue being profitable.
Since becoming Investors with DLP, Jack and Jackie were able to completely renovate their kitchen, where they spend most of their time. Jack jokes, “We spent more on our kitchen remodel than on our first home. But, we love it and it’s definitely the hub of the house.” When they’re not enjoying Jack’s home cooked meals, they’re spending time with family as well as their two dogs, K-Cee and Charlie. (Charlie accompanies Jack to work, sitting under his desk, and mostly on top of, all day long). And, they’re looking forward to their future, as they’re getting close to being able to retire, thanks to Don Wenner and DLP.