By Joycelyne Fadojutimi
Tina Ann Moody-Bryan has a family history of success in business. Her father, George W. Moody, mother Carolyn Johnson and step father, Buzz Johnson set sparkling examples of how to prosper in a capitalistic society. The basics of hard work, determination, perseverance, faith, family and cultivating the right people/customers are crucial for coming out ahead in life and in one’s career.
Throughout her life, she looked on as her father and stepfather expertly directed the businesses they owned, and how this helped not only them and their family, but the hundreds of employees who made it possible. Her father George Moody was a longtime banker. “He is a true, rags to riches story,” she says. “He started out as a teller in Avinger, Texas, and at the time of his death he was president of White Oak State Bank.”
Moreover, Tina Ann followed his lead and spent 20 years in banking. Her father was a profitable example, teaching her that self-confidence and the willingness to learn from others are vital to make it in the money market. Although he passed away seven years ago, she still hears from his former customers about how he positively impacted their lives by believing in them and giving them a chance financially. She wasted no time getting started.
After she graduated from Eastern Hills High School in Ft. Worth, her Daddy told her, “Either go to college or go to work.” Since he had never attended college, she decided on this course. “The college I chose to go to, was the University of Life and Hard Knocks,” she says.
While she prospered in banking and as a musician in Dallas and Nashville, her father and business partner Spiro Majilas changed directions and opened a restaurant in Longview. They called it The Butcher Shop. In 2001 Daddy George asked her to return to East Texas and commence a new career. She jumped at the opportunity. Now she and her sister own the eatery, running it with their father’s sister, Aunt Linda, who has been there 33 of the 36 years it has been open.
The Butcher Shop has flourished to the point that it is now a local fixture and provides jobs for fifty to sixty employees. Tina Ann sets a splendid example of achieving success from hard work.
Open every day of the year except New Year’s, Thanksgiving and Christmas, The Butcher Shop serves sumptuous fares from 7:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m., and she has been part of every aspect of its smooth, savory function. “I have been on both sides of the operation of the business,” she says. “Now I mostly concentrate my efforts on the administrative side of the restaurant.”
Simply feeding people is far from the only fulfilling part of what she does. Her employees, many of whom have been with her many years, are like family, and the faithful customers are more than just patrons–they are friends.
“When you serve as a local small business you are allowed to enjoy special times in both your customers’ and employees’ lives,” she says. “I love that we have celebrated with both groups when their kids have been born, score the winning touchdown or even get married. We have also been saddened when we have lost employees or customers who are dear to us.”
Providing food and memories during special events, whether they be sorrowful or blessed, helps keep this cherished business solvent and beloved by the city. Dedicated employees and faithful customers keep its doors open and grills popping. Especially during the holidays, when homesick college students return and are eager for something besides pizza and dorm food. Among other Longview dining establishments, The Butcher Shop gives them not only great meals, but fond memories.
Following this further, there are not many aspects of her job that Tina Ann dislikes. The sole drawback of how her employees are like family is how they sometimes leave. Whether because they pass away or merely move on to other work, it hurts to lose loved ones. “Restaurants are a lot of times a stepping stone for other dreams that people have,” she says. “We do like it, however, when they return, and we see them catch the dream that they were chasing.”
Even after they catch their dreams, though, they have to eat, and this is what makes The Butcher Shop such a vital part of the local scene, drawing former employees back for more than just a reunion. When they (and anyone else) do return, they are delighted to find everything just as it was when they left.
“My daddy hated going to a place and discovering that they had stopped serving a particular item that he liked,” she says. “The burger and fresh-baked bun and everything that goes with it should be the same as what you got thirty years ago.”
It is important to note, Tina Ann does not limit her public service to feeding paying customers, however. Several times weekly she donates food to local charities. Like any city, Longview provides many opportunities for public service, and she does not help only those she knows and are close to home.
“When tragic times have struck, we take pride in helping however we can. Whether food or monetary donations,” she says. “Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey showed us that life can change in an instant. Many Longview businesses came together to donate goods and funds to aid those displaced by those events.”
Despite her almost-constant work with and in The Butcher Shop, she does have other pursuits. She sings beautifully, and this is how she met husband Tim Bryan. Following her return to Texas, she commenced singing with a Southern Gospel group called Tender Mercies. Tim’s father pastors a church in Tyler where Tender Mercies had just performed. After Tina Ann and the group returned to Longview, she realized she had left her Bible at the church.
The preacher had known Tina Ann for years and sent his son to return the Bible personally. She had never met his son. She was hard at work in The Butcher Shop when he arrived. “Tim brought me the Bible,” she says. “We joke that I was in my fry girl clothes because I was working in the restaurant at the time and smelled like French fries.”
Although she smelled great, Tim also liked what he saw. Predictably, their first date was at her restaurant, making it the site of yet another wonderful memory.
“After we got married in April 2002 at Gerald’s in downtown Longview, we came and took pictures at The Butcher Shop,” she says. “Not only so that we could have our wedding pictures there, but also [because] we had employees that had to work that day and wanted to see us on our special day.”
It is easy to see why, Tina Ann keeps her beloved father in mind as she continues expertly following his tradition of culinary excellence in the community she cherishes.
“We love Longview, and will strive to make a difference for decades to come,”