A History of Sales & Customer Service 

I realize you didn’t come here to read about my family tree. Understanding that risk I still wanted to remember them here by documenting not only their contributions in COMMERCE but to FAMILY as well.


Having said that I want you to know that from today’s “Cogdell Kitchens” I have plans to have each of their names featured on a future product with something that was in the kitchen or on the table at our family gatherings.


While my “Jeb’s 5th Wheel Chili-Dump” kicks off a rebirth of sorts for the Cogdell name in commerce, it is but a by-product of those that came before me, and alongside me.  I couldn't be more excited for what that holds and it has been a real pleasure to sit down and document on paper what came before us.


Robert Reid Cogdell (Bob) 



Some material paraphrased from the book The Black and White Lion, byLyn Jank 1977 and also from the researchand writings of Randall Scott of Waco.


R.R. “Bob” Cogdell, my Great Grandfather...the man who started it all. Around 1919 Bob had agreat idea after helping a stranded motorist in the countryside with a flat tire by offering up his own spare. Inspired by that event the wheels in his head started turning and later that year in FortWorth at 35 years of age he invented and developed what would be called “Cogdell’s Lock-Fast Cold Patch”. A patch designed to quickly adhere to automobile tire tubes and fix a flat on the go.Initially working from his $5/month rental home’s garage and selling out of his Ford truck called “Congress” (because it could not or would not pass anything). He began selling shop to shop. Demad quickly outstripped his production capabilities. My father once credited Mr. Cogdell with inventing the “six pack” , as that was one way he tried to meet soaring demand for his patch. Selling a “6-pack” as the minimum purchase quantity. It wasn’t long before business was good enough towarrant the opening of Cogdell Auto Supply at 300 Calhoun St in downtown Fort Worth, where one of the Bass office towers stands today.


In 1932, Cogdell’s expanded to Waco, buying the liquidated Herrick Hardware Store on North 6th St and was also known as Cogdell Auto Supply. They sold automotive parts and accessories both wholesale and retail. In addition they sold hardware, radios, refrigerators, china and household utensils. In the beginning, Leo H. Bradshaw, SR, Bob’s son-in-law, was the cashier, B.G. Thigpen was manager of the hardware department, Wilma Fowler was the manager of the glass and china department, and Robert Grogan was the shipping and receiving clerk.


The company continued to expand until October of 1934 when Cogdell Auto Supply moved the 800 block of Austin Avenue and carried every household item “from wastebasket to cookstove” as they would say in their frequent newspaper advertisements.


R.R. “Bob” Cogdell died in September, 1946.


Rezi Jarvis Covington Cogdell (“Ahoo”)


My Great Grandmother who we simply called “Ahoo”. Married to Bob Cogdell and lifelong supporter of his entrepreneurial spirit and endeavors. She lived on Bellaire Dr across from the TCU campus until her death in 1977. Of the handful of vague memories that I have of her as a young boy…her ‘62 Cadillac Sedan Deville is among the most prominent. She passed away in Fort Worth in 1977 when I was 11 years old.

Leo Herman Bradshaw SR (“PaPa”)


My grandfather “PaPa” who continued to operate the Cogdell’s ventures from Waco. An avid outdoorsman Leo enjoyed any opportunity to be hunting. From dove hunts in Bosque county with the legendary Texas Game Warden Harley Berg to chasing trophy whitetail in South Texas on the Light Ranch with George Light II and “big game” hunts in Alaska for weeks at a time…Leo was always appreciative of his favorite pastime and the wonderful meat that it would provide for months at a time.


The son-in-law of Bob Cogdell, Leo not only took over the day to day operations of the Cogdell ventures…he took them to an exciting new level…both in product offering and profitability.


In 1948, the company moved the “Cogdell Auto Supply Department” to 1004 Franklin where it operated for nearly the rest of 20th century. In the years that followed, Cogdell's moved from Downtown Waco to their new modern 18,000 square foot store on Highway 6 (Valley Mills Drive close to New Road). Not long after, they would add a new 4500 square foot furniture display area to the store. To the delight of many men and husbands who could quickly become bored while their mother or spouse shoped for furniture, china, silverware and the like Cogdell’s opened the “Field and Stream Room”. Using 1800 square feet in the back of the building a treasure-trove of nationally known lines of hunting, fishing and camping equipment stocked the shelves and displays. It would soon become THE place to purchase new and pre-owned firearms, optics, and other firearm accessories, ammunition, skeet throwers, clay pigeons and of course - the ever important hunting and fishing license!


Leo was very active in the community both in commerce and philanthropic causes. He would serve as Mayor of Waco in 1952. In 1956 Cogdell’s added 5500, square feet warehouse and shop area to the store and broke ground for $250,000.00 addition as more units were added to Cogdell’s Suburban Center. An additional store was opened in 1959 on 19th and Park Lake Drive. This store only remained open until about 1968.


Leo passed away in 1972 following a battle with cancer.

Eleanor Rose Cogdell Bradshaw (“Sugie”)


My grandmother known to us grandkids as “Sugie”. Most of my memories of Sugie revolve around their grand old home on Hillcrest in Waco. Today, that home is known as the “Hillcrest Estate” and is owned an operated as a bed & breakfast by Magnolia’s own Chip and Joanna Gaines. Other visits would include family getaways to the family farm just outside of Cranfill’s Gap in Bosque county. Our Waco visits typical were comprised of Christmas and Thanksgiving related festivities, while family trips to the farm always included the opening day of dove season among other special times. You never had to wonder if Game Warden Harley Berg would show up on the farm as he was almost always a guest of Leo’s and hunting out in the sunflower and sorgym fields with his favorite .410 shotgun. Never wanting to waste a shot Harley was famous for taking his limit of dove - never using more shells than the number of dove killed. He was an incredible marksman and legendary Texas character. 


Whether at the farm or the house in Waco I remember the everpresent aroma of PaPa and Sugie’s cooking filling the air. They were both wonderful cooks with Leo displaying his skills on an open fire, grill or smokehouse. Sugie displayed her skills with more traditional cuisine in the kitchen. I have vivid memories of the beautiful glass bottles and mason jars filled with all kinds peppered and pickled goodness. Most of the contents of those homemade goods came directly from the farm’s garden. Pepper sauce for beans and black eyed peas. Jalapeños to accompany meals of all kinds. Another favorite was Leo’s “red pepper and garlic dilled green tomatoes”. Sugie thought it was a great idea to share that recipe with the church cookbook that the ladies published each year. Leo was not happy. That recipe can be found in “Whats Cooking in Cogdell Kitchens” volume III - and helped me name this 21st century venture to carry on some family entrepreneurial spirit.

Leo H. Bradshaw JR (“Uncle Leo”)


Leo Jr. essentially continued to run Cogdell’s Westview in Waco following my grandfather’s death. In 1982 they closed the doors and in 1983 “The Sportster” moved into the front of the building formerly occupied by Cogdell’s and in 1989 “The Sports Spectrum” opened in that same building. All the while Leo Bradshaw, Jr. continued to sell guns in the back of the building until 2003 when he relocated his gun business to 1001 Wooded Acres Drive. His shop got a little smaller but the flow of customers - both old time “spit & whittle” members and new customers continued to flow. Leo truly had an enclopedia like knowledge of all things guns. While is favorites were vintage Colt revolver’s and Winchester rifles his knoweldge was spread WIDE and DEEP on just about any firearm you could think of. It wasn’t unusual for Leo to go beyond answering your gun related questions. He would answer you in great detail for sure; however, he never missed an opportunity to share an old story from personal recollection that went along nicely with the firearm in question. He never missed an opportunity to make his knowledge and pontifications known to a greater audience than you. Leo wasn’t just a loud-talker…he wanted to be sure that everyone in the shop could hear what he had to say. 


After my father Jim Bradshaw passed away in 2009 my stops in Waco to see Leo became even more meaningful. I rarely missed an opportunity to stop by while in route home from Austin, Houston, or the coast. Was always a meaningful detour. In 2013 I had the idea of doing a podcast with Leo and capturing what I could of his encyclopedia-like knowledge of firearms. It was called “Gunpoint Cogdell”. Of course, I had BIG plans for it all but my real job and life just kind of “got in the way” and interfered with those plans. I was however able to conduct and record seven (7) episodes up to that point and still have them today. You can have a listen to them all here.


Leo Bradshaw, Jr. continued in the gun business operating Bradshaw/Cogdell’s Gun Shop unitl his death on March 9, 2019.

James E. “Jim” Bradshaw (My late father “Dad” & “PaPa”)


My father Jim Bradshaw. My hero. Growing up in Waco through high school “Pee Wee” as his father called him had to grow up fast after beating polio as a child as like his brothers he left home for military school at Kemper Military Academy in Booneville, MO. He would later attend North Texas where he was a Sigma Nu and the University of Colorado before finishing back in Waco at Baylor. Baylor University would be where he would find his “Baylor Beauty” Ouida Pearl Massey from Memphis, Texas…the “May Queen”. They met on campus in 1961. They married not long after and he began his life-long career in sales. First as a manufacturer’s rep out of Houston with Leo Kennedy Company and then on to Beaverton, Oregon with Federal Mogul before finally joining the family in the automotive wholesale business with Cogdell Auto Supply in Fort Worth. 


At the time there was the Waco warehouse operation and the Fort Worth operation located at 300 Calhoun downtown…where one of the “Bass Towers” stands today. As my grandfather was set to close the Fort Worth operation my father asked him for the chance to move there and turn things around. Not only did he turn the business around, it flourished to the point of needing to expand. Soon the Fort Worth operation would break ground on Northpark Dr on the northside of Fort Worth for a 28,000 square foot sprinkled tilt-wall warehouse (today housing Eubank’s Roofing).


Together with the Waco warehouse, Cogdell Auto Supply would grow into one of the premier Automotive Warehouse Distributor’s in North and Central Texas with accounts reaching North into Bridgeport, South into Conroe…and all points in between. Things were going so well that at the age of only 35 he would beat out Fort Worth car dealer Jack Williams for the place 3 seat on the Fort Worth City Council in 1975. He would go on to serve as Mayor Pro-tem on the council before being approached by millionaire hard-charging oil man and Texas Rangers baseball owner Eddie Chiles. In conjunction with his “I’m Mad too Eddie” radio campaign against “Big Government” Eddie would bank-roll my father’s attempt to unseat the powerful incumbent congressman and House Majority Leader Jim Wright in 1980. A serious long-shot and expensive campaign that, while failing in its primary goal of taking the Speaker’s seat…enjoyed GREAT success. You see, as California Congressman Duncan Hunter once told me…it was such a highly visible and active campaign that it forced Speaker Wright to remain close to home campaigning. Not being able to make the rounds around the country on the campaign trail, Speaker Wright was unable to assist fellow democrats running in critical districts. That coupled with the strong coattails of Ronald Reagan helped republicans ride a tidal wave of victory that would reshape the political landscape for years to come.


Politics not only took it’s toll on my father but his business as well. After years of being an absentee-owner with some noble but failed attempts to bring the business back around Cogdell Auto Supply was liquidated and closed the doors for good both in Waco and Fort Worth in 1992. 


He spent the next 17 years possibly loving what he did more than ever before in his life. He became an independent consultant in Fort Worth and the surrounding Tarrant County area helping people and businesses wade through the bureaucratic maze of anything that had to go through city and county government. Some of his clients included well known organizations like Waste Management, All Saints Hospital, Fort Worth Osteopathic Hospital and Charter Cable. Less popular in the public eye he also had Crown Horse Slaughter as a good client. On a smaller scale he was there for numerous clients that needed help in zoning and code changes for their businesses. 


One thing dad always seem to champion was the “underdog”. He always seemed to be at his happiest and best when he was “putting difficult deals together”. The bigger the challenge the better he performed. He thrived on challenges and delivering on the impossible, and he did it a lot. It paid very well, but maybe not as well as his “last hoorah” to enjoy not long before his death. 


I remember getting the phone call one evening. He asked me if I was at my computer. I was. He told me to “Google” the words “Barnette Shale Newark, Texas”. I did. As I stared at a screen full of black dots that became more and more concentrated towards a big black blob in the middle he asked me “You see those dots and that big black area in the middle? Well those are natural gas wells and that big black blob is Newark…there are so many gas wells there it’s just a blob of black dots…gas wells!”


He continued to explain, “you know your grandfather game me and your Uncles each a parcel of land back in the 60’s. None of them were good enough to grow so much as a weed on, and we all sold our land at some point in our life. I sold mine in the early 70’s to build your mother a pool in our backyard. I did however keep the mineral rights. Now I don’t have a lick of paper on it but a friend of mine is doing some research and piecing it all together.” That land-man friend was able to document all but about 40 acres of it and dad ended up with over 400 acres of documented mineral rights ownership near Newark, Texas, heart of the Barnett’s Shale. 


Dad  rolled up his sleeves and went knocking on the doors of his long-lost neighbors and ended up pooling together enough acreage of minerals to attract Olano based Denbury Resources who, not only paid him a nice bonus, but ended up drilling 7 or 8 of the 10 gas wells that they had planned for that pooled acreage. While mom and dad’s mailbox money peaked when gas prices were at  $13.31 per MM Btu, that gas play has been mom’s little annuity over the years. A little slice of legacy that keeps on giving…a lot like his contributions in recovery from alcohol abuse. A little legacy with long-lasting benefits. A true life gift that keeps on giving.


It’s no secret and it is certainly not anonymous the fact that my father spent the last 25 years of his life helping others get and stay clean and sober. That had a lot to do with the previous 25 years of his life, no question. I would hear him say this line a handful of times over the years when sharing his “story”: “I spent 25 years of my life UNSUCCESFULLY trying to drink successfully”. He passed away quietly at the age of 69 in August of 2009 after a very brief battle with cancer. He was surrounded by family and friends - MANY who were   “friends of Bill” who simply wanted to whisper one last “Thank you” into the ear of “Jim B.”. A thank you for helping save their life, their marriage, their career - or all of the above. It was moving to witness. Today he is still recognized annually at Recovery Resources “Clifton Morris & Jim Bradshaw Stars in Recovery Luncheon”.





Ouida Pearl Bradshaw aka MOM, “The May Queen” and “Mrs. B” 

Lovi D. Bradshaw, My wife and business partner.

It is so fitting for me to have these two great women featured here together. Not only are they both the two greatest women in my life, they are great friends with eachother. A blessing that I can’t say enough about. They say you try and “marry someone like your mother”. While I’m not educated enough to expand on that here I can say that if finding Lovi in Houston, Texas back in 1996 had anything to do with my mother’s looks, heart, compassion, faith and overall great spirit and character then yes…I am living testimony to that theory. I am so undeserving of both of them, and so very thankful for having them in my life today.

My dear mother met my father on the Baylor University campus in the 1960. Also referred to as the “May Queen” by close friends and family she won that title in 1961 as a freshman from Memphis, Texas while attending Baylor. She has certainly been through the great times and some rough times but one thing always held true…she has been and remains today one incredible mother. Always at my father’s side through it all. From his traveling salesman days as a manufacturer’s rep to his workaholic days growing the automotive parts business she was always there for him and supportive of his work. A mother of 6 children…5 of which are still with us today, there wasn’t and still isn’t a thing she wouldn’t do for her children. Even as difficult as my father’s campaigning and political days were she remained steadfastly committed to him and to family…all the while being the “glue” and the “rock” that held everything together. She is simply the greatest. 


Lovi Bradshaw

Houston, Texas is special to me. It’s not only where I was born but where I would meet my wife Lovi. I moved to Houston with New York Life after my father and I closed down the Automotive business. I have always joked that I met her in a honky-tonk. It’s not wrong…I was actually briefly introduced to her while listening to Gary Nunn at “Blanco’s" one night by a mutual friend of ours. Somewhere between work and fishing Port O’Conor every chance I got I did finally manage to aske her out on a date. Interestingly it was a couple of fishing trips that inspired me to do that. One e when I was fishing with my father at the age of 26 he said something like “you know Jeb, back in the day for us if we’re 26 and not married people woulda thought something was wrong with us…” Another trip I was drifting “Swan Lake” in Copano Bay with a good friend and I explained to him “man, I gotta go on a date with somebody soon”. That friend just happen to say “you know who you need to ask out? Lovi Loper!” I explained that I was pretty sure we had met before at Blanco’s way back. I called her that night when I was back in Houston. I didn’t know it but she was expecting my call, as my fishing buddy’s wife had already alerted her that I was going to ask her out. It was only a few days later I would pick her up in my ‘83 Land Cruiser where we would join other couples for a BYOB dinner at Collina’s Italian on Richmond Ave.

It was a relative short courtship as we were engaged not too many months after. My father mentioned that Uncle Leo was in possession of a diamond he had recently traded for while buying some guns from an estate in Texas. I had the stone mounted on a platinum band and sandwiched between two beautiful sapphire gemstones. We thought it helped set the fairly flawed diamond off a little better!

I would propose to Lovi while taking the roughly 3 mile walk around Memorial Park and we would marry in February of 1997 at Perkins chapel on the SMU campus. We honeymooned in Cabo San Lucas following a pretty nice reception at the Mansion at Turtle Creek where we stayed the night in “JR’s Suite”. 

We spent the 5 years in Houston where we attended Second Baptist.. Lovi was managing the local Cole-Haan store while I was working in the oil & gas industry at The Andrews Group International. Our first son Bobby was born while we were in Houston living in a duplex on Nantucket near the Briargrove and Galleria area. It wasn’t long before we decided to move to Fort Worth. Having grown up in Fort Worth I was excited about it. While we loved Houston and our friends there having a newborn child made being closer to our families an attractive opportunity. Lovi being a TCU Horned Frog was equally excited about getting back to Cowtown where our 2nd child Chaz would be born soon after. Lovi has such a sweet spirit (most of the time ;) and even though I was back in MY hometown, I soon realized that she was much better known around Fort Worth! I was not so much Jeb Bradshaw, but rather Lovi’s husband…and I’m OK with that. She is certainly my better half.


I will fast forward to close with this and what led up to starting Cogdell Kitchens with my wife Lovi. You see, while I am an insurance executive by profession, I’ve had a few hobbies over the years that led to entrepreneurial ventures of various kinds. Most of them never really accelerated past the “hobby” mode however. Except maybe one, only to end up in a 3 year trademark battle with a California based clothier. We lost in the end. Took the wind out of our sails. 

The chili blend was different. After a few taste testing with my wife and close friends she said to me privately…you have to do something with this. It’s that good, and If you DON’T then I am going to run with it. I must say she’s never been that excited about any of my little hobbies turned “side-hustle”. This was pleasing to hear to say the least. After all she never got excited about previous endeavors with “YakLeash” kayak fishing accessoies, “Fat Yabby” ghost-shrimp pumps or even Laguna Costa lifestyle clothing, but yet she got VERY excited about the chili. I don't know that I could have done this without her and the invaluable insight, intuition and assistance she provides as my wife and business HERE WE GO!