By PHILIP TIMOTHY, Message Staff Writer
BOSSIER CITY – For all he has accomplished, developer John Good Jr. readily admits he could never have accomplished any of it without God in his life.
One of Louisiana’s premier developers, Good has developed such high-profile projects as Stonebridge, the Louisiana Boardwalk, and Villaggio.
Founder and principal of the Good Companies, Good has been honored numerous times, including being recognized in February as “Entrepreneur of the Decade” by a prominent Bossier City civic organization.
[img_assist|nid=6839|title=John Good, a long-time member of Trinity Heights Baptist Church in Shreveport, is a highly successful real estate developer.|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=67|height=100]“God has seen fit to allow me do some extraordinary things,” Good said. “There is no way I could have accomplished the things I have accomplished without Him. Truthfully, all of the honors I have received belong to Him.”
A long-time member of Trinity Heights Baptist Church, the 56-year-old Good has carved a niche in real estate development throughout the state of Louisiana, and especially in the Shreveport/Bossier City area.
His company, headquartered in Texarkana, Texas, engages in development, ownership, management, leasing and construction of mixed-use retail, residential lifestyle developments and retail shopping centers.
“Today, my company, my work, my life is Christ-centered,” Good said. “My success is because I have tried to put God first in everything I do.”
He probably wouldn’t be saying that today had Good not gone through a rough patch in his life when he lost everything in 1986, Good said.
“I became a Christian my junior year in high school (1971) while going to Trinity Heights Christian Academy and attended church there, but I really didn’t have a good relationship with the Lord. I was what I call a ‘convenient Christian,’” Good said.
“In 1986 we lost everything,” Good continued. “I hit rock bottom. From 1986 to 1988, we had a tough go of it.
“We had to move out of our big house and all the things that had come so easily to us were gone.
“My family and I moved into a 1,000-square-foot house and lived on $1,000 a month, of which $500 went for the rent. It was at that point, with God’s help, I realized I had to surrender it all to the Lord. I began to tithe to the church and re-dedicated my life and the lives of my family to Christ. Even though we didn’t have much I was able to get back up on my feet.”
The end result has been a meteoric rise in his career.
It began in the early 1990s, with the development of a 320-acre tract of swamp pastures and wetlands that would become known as Stonebridge – an upscale 330-acre community complete with Bossier City’s first golf course and Louisiana’s first PGA professionally-designed Fred Couple 18-hole golf course.
“I not only did a lot of praying as I walked the property, I waited until God gave me the peace that this was the right thing to do,” Good said. “Then and only then did I feel comfortable to begin the development.”
Since 1996, Stonebridge has developed nine interior sections totaling 320 lots and more than $30 million in real estate sales. When asked about Stonebridge, Good says, “God owned it; He just let me manage it for Him.”
Good followed with even a larger undertaking: the Louisiana Boardwalk.
“While Cheryl [his wife of 31 years] and I were traveling, we would mention we were from Bossier City, and the response we got was ‘oh, the place that has the riverboats.’ I turned to her one time and said ‘I want us to be known for more than riverboats.’”
Little did Good know that soon after that, the area would become known for the Boardwalk rather than just the boats.
As master developer, Good took a blighted, run-down section of Bossier City and transformed it into a $190 million retail outlet and entertainment center. It has become a major tourism destination.
Once again, prayer played a huge role in Good’s decision to move forward with the development; the obstacles before him were enormous.
“There were some huge obstacles,” Good agrees, “but I knew they weren’t bigger than our Lord. I spent a lot of time in prayer while I walked the property. I wanted to do what the Lord wanted me to do. I waited and listened for Him to give me His blessings.”
The Boardwalk, which needed divine intervention to just get started, went up. Good made sure people would want to come there because it was safe, clean and family-oriented. He set a high standard and made sure it was Christ-centered.
“I don’t beat people over the head with my faith, but I don’t let opportunities slip away in which I can give God the praise and glory. You don’t have to compromise your faith,” Good said. “In our meetings, I made it clear early on what the standards would be. There will be no cursing. We will do quality work. We will treat people fairly, and meet each challenge as it comes.”
Begun in 2000, the Louisiana Boardwalk, which features the state’s first Bass Pro Shop and more than 30 first-time retailers in Louisiana, opened in May 2005. The Boardwalk’s opening set national sales record for the majority of the outlets.
His latest venture – Villaggio – is a 64-acre development between Interstate 20 and Highway 80 in North Bossier City. It is located within walking distance of the Bossier City Community College as well as the new $100 million Cyber Innovation Center and the Cyber Research Park, and is less than three miles from Barksdale Air Force Base. The development is designed to recreate a Tuscan village.
The project will house 230 apartments, 55,000 square feet of prime retail, office/commercial space and upscale private townhomes overlooking a six-acre lake.
“When I purchased the property, I didn’t know they were going to put the Cyber Center here, but God did,” Good said. “As I walked the property and developed the plans for Villaggio, I bathed everything in prayer and just got out of the way. God did the rest.”
Good says prayer has become a vital part of his life. He is prayerwalking another piece of property for another development.
“I haven’t got comfortable with it just yet. I have put it to prayer and I am just listening, waiting,” Good said. “It doesn’t feel right just yet, but the Holy Spirit will let me know if this is where we need to be or if this is the right time for it.”
Good, who is a deacon and a Gideon at Trinity Heights, tries to start every morning talking with God, but sometimes, because of his hectic schedule, he has to move his quiet time to later in the day. But he always makes time. Good, who also spends a lot of time traveling, does a lot of praying and thinking in his vehicle.
“I don’t listen to the radio because it just sounds like a lot of noise to me,” Good said.
“When I do listen to it, I turn to KLOVE on Sirius radio because good Christian music is uplifting to me.”
And Good also makes sure he is there for his family. A devoted husband and father, John and Cheryl spend a lot of time with their two daughters Kristal, 27, and Faith, 24, and their three grandchildren.
“Nothing outside the Lord means more to me than my family,” Good said. “I have made it point to never miss a function involving my children or grandchildren.”
Well, almost never missing a function.
“I did have one conflict that I just couldn’t back out of,” Good said. “I was asked to speak at the Community Renewal graduation ceremony and agreed before I realized it was the same night as my granddaughter’s recital. I just couldn’t say no, so I missed the recital.”
Because Good has received so many blessings in his life, he freely gives of his time both in his church and the community.
“Besides being civically active, I am on the church’s personnel committee and have been on several building committees,” Good said. “Because the Lord has blessed me with so much, it’s really hard to say no – but I am learning.”