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Nathaniel R. Goldston, III

Founder of Gourmet Services, Inc., Nathaniel Russell Goldston, III was born on October 20, 1938, in Omaha, Nebraska, to Nathaniel and Mary Elizabeth Goldston. Goldston’s mother worked in food service in the public school system and his father at the local hotels and restaurants. Goldston received his B.S. degree in business administration with a concentration in hotel and restaurant management from the University of Denver in 1962.

Goldston worked at a food service company for ten years after graduating from college; he held positions such as district manager, regional vice president, and senior vice president. After being denied a promotion to chief executive officer due to racial discrimination, Goldston left in 1974 to start his own business, Gourmet Services, Inc. in Charlotte, North Carolina. Gourmet Services, Inc. grew to include contracts at six black colleges and employ 300 individuals; in its first year, the company generated $2.3 million in revenues. In 1976, Goldston met former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson, who encouraged him to move Gourmet Services, Inc. to Atlanta. The business continued to grow after relocating, and eventually Gourmet Services, Inc. became the nation’s largest African American-owned food service management companies, boasting 2,500 employees; it was ranked fourteenth among the nation’s top 50 food service companies.

In 1986, Goldston founded the Atlanta Chapter of 100 Black Men of America along with twenty-one other local businessmen and civic leaders. In 1989, Goldston became the 100 Black Men of America’s second national president. Gourmet Services, Inc. has donated millions of dollars in scholarships to students attending historically black colleges and universities; Goldston also established the Mary E. Goldston Foundation to provide scholarships to deserving African American students.

Goldston passed away on July 4, 2017.

Accession Number

A2007.112

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/26/2007

2/25/2008

Last Name

Goldston

Maker Category
Middle Name

R.

Schools

Kellom Elementary School

Omaha Central High School

University of Denver

Doane University

First Name

Nathaniel

Birth City, State, Country

Omaha

HM ID

GOL02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Nebraska

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cape Town, South Africa

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

10/20/1938

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Gumbo

Death Date

7/4/2017

Short Description

Food service executive and food service entrepreneur Nathaniel R. Goldston, III (1938 - 2017 ) was the founder of Gourmet Services, Inc. and the Atlanta Chapter of 100 Black Men of America.

Employment

Union Pacific Railroad

Allied Chemical Corporation

Dillon Hotel Company

Catering Management, Incorporated

Gourmet Services, Inc

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482906">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Nathaniel R. Goldston, III's interview, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482907">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482908">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482909">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482910">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes how his parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482911">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his earliest childhood memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482912">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his mother's parenting</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482913">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his father's parenting</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482914">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III remembers working for his father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482915">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his family's food service professions</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482916">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls his neighbors in Omaha, Nebraska</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482917">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III remembers Kellom Grade School in Omaha, Nebraska</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482918">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482919">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III remembers the winters in Omaha, Nebraska</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482920">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III remembers moving to a residential neighborhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482921">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his family's catering business</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482922">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III remembers playing golf</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482923">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his early personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482924">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes Omaha Central High School in Nebraska</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482925">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his early aspirations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482926">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes Doane College in Crete, Nebraska</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482927">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls working as a chair car porter</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482928">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls paying tuition at the University of Denver</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482929">Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes the University of Denver in Colorado</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482930">Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls the civil rights activity at the University of Denver</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482931">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes the Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482932">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes food service education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482933">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls his early employment</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482934">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III remembers the Vietnam War draft</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482935">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls studying at the University of Denver College of Law</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482936">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his early contracts at Gourmet Services, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482937">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482938">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes Gourmet Services, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482939">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his work with the Aramark Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482940">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Slating of Nathaniel R. Goldston, III's interview, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482941">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his college education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482942">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III talks about the food service industry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482943">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls joining Catering Management, Incorporated</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482944">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls his position at Catering Management, Incorporated</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482945">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III talks about food service in universities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482946">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III remembers leaving Catering Management, Incorporated</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482947">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls partnering with his previous clients</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482948">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls moving to Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482949">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls starting Gourmet Services, Inc. in Atlanta</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482950">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes the employees of Gourmet Services, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482951">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls changes in his business strategy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482952">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III talks about his business innovations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482953">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes the board of Gourmet Services, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482954">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III talks about Gourmet Services Inc.'s catering</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482955">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his hotel business</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482956">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his business challenges</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482957">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III lists the top food service industry companies</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482958">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his plans for the future of Gourmet Services, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482959">Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his collaboration with Aramark Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482960">Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls working with Eastern Air Lines</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482961">Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III talks about the young leadership of Gourmet Services, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482962">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls founding 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482963">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls the members of 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482964">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls fundraising for Project Success</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482965">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls the contribution of Dillard Munford</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482966">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls the fundraising events for Project Success</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482967">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes the changes in Project Success</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482968">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes creation of 100 Black Men of America, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482969">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls his presidency of 100 Black Men of America, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482970">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his initiatives as president of 100 Black Men of America, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482971">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes the successes of 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482972">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III reflects upon his life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482973">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III reflects upon his legacy and how he would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482974">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III shares his advice to aspiring businesspeople</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/482975">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III narrates his photographs</a>

DASession

2$2

DATape

4$6

DAStory

7$1

DATitle
Nathaniel R. Goldston, III remembers leaving Catering Management, Incorporated
Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls founding 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Inc.
Transcript
So you build this business up for six years, until about 1970. Is that right?$$Nineteen--nine- I, I built the Catering Management [Catering Management, Incorporated] business. I, I, I stuck with it 'til 1974, right.$$So tell me, what happens in 1974 that makes you decide that it's time to go (laughter)?$$(Laughter) It was very interesting. I was, I was still with Catering Management, but Catering Management had been sold, and it'd been sold to a major conglomerate company in, in New York. And if you remember the, the early '60s [1960s] and, and the early '70s [1970s], they didn't have a lot of faith in the fact that, that an African American can, could run that, that business. So when Catering Management sold, I was brought into Columbia, Missouri, as the senior vice president and chief operating officer. But it was always understood that I would never be the president of the company because they were in a search mode for, for president of the company. I ran the company for almost, I guess it was two years, from 1972 to 1974, with interim managers coming in--come--presidents coming. They'd come in, and they, they couldn't figure it out, and they couldn't do the business. And yet and still, I'd turn--once I turn the reins over to the them, I'd have to go back and start all over again, to the point that it became rather frustrating. And, and my wife [Darlene Goldston] said to me, "You know, you run these people's--this biz- business for these people. You don't need these people for you, for, to run the business. You can see that you run the business. You know how to run--you ought to run your own business." I said, "You're probably right." So they had one more sale, when they sold--the company that, that, that bought my company sold to Aramark [Aramark Corporation]. Then it was ARA Services. And I knew I didn't want to get into that big company and getting into all of that. It just wasn't my style. I wasn't gonna move to Philadelphia [Pennsylvania], and I wasn't gonna--and you know, what was my job gonna be? And I basically just decided I'll just start on my--I mean I just woke up one morning and flew to Atlanta [Georgia], and had a, a meeting with an attorney in Atlanta, and told him I wanted to--what, what, what is my, my legal obligations to this company, and how can I start my own business? That lawyer was Prentiss Yancey [Prentiss Q. Yancey, Jr.], who had graduated from Villanova [Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania] and graduated from Emory law school [Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, Georgia]. And, and he was responsible ultimately for, for the merger between the American Basketball Association and the National Basketball Association. And Prentiss is, was a very bright guy. He knew how to bring things together. And he told me, he said, he said, "Well, let me look at your contract." And I looked at the contract. "You have a contract with, with food service management. You don't have a contract with ARA. So, if you were still an employee of, of, of the other company, you would have an obligation. But since you quit, you have no obligations to anybody." He said, "Now you gotta figure out how to go get your business." And it's a, a very interesting story in itself.$Let's talk about your involvement with the 100 Black Men [100 Black Men of America, Inc.]. So let's start from the beginning.$$Well, it was a (laughter), it's a very interesting story. Back in the, in the mid-'80s [1980s], we operated a food service for the Harlem State Office Building [Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building] in, in New York [New York]. And one of my, one of the people that, or one of the, the organizations that we regularly served on a monthly basis was the 100 Black Men of New York [100 Black Men, Inc. of New York]. And they met in our building, and we would, and we would serve them dinner in the evenings. And I just happened to be around and asked the president, who was Roscoe, Dr. Roscoe Brown [HistoryMaker Roscoe C. Brown], if I could just kind of listen into the meeting. "Y'all, this is a secret meeting or something?" "No, no, no, no, sit down." And they were--I listen to them. They were planning their annual fundraiser for scholarships that they gave to, to kids in Harlem [New York, New York], basically, going to any college that they wanted to. And, and it was a nice, it was great, great kind of a program. And on my way back to Atlanta [Georgia], I thought about it. I said you know, there's no organization like that in Atlanta that basically, you know. And it was during the time, in those '80s [1980s], black males had a, they had a, a horrible rap. I mean it was, I mean we were known as people that, that ran off and left our families and people that went to the grocery store and never came back for twenty years and all that kind of stuff. And we didn't have the greatest reputation. And I thought about it, and I said you know, there ought to be, we ought to be able to put one of those groups together in the City of Atlanta. And I came back to my secretary, who was Monica Douglas at that time, and I told her. She said, "Yeah, maybe, I don't know." She said, "I, I don't know." She said, "But you're right: there is nothing, you know, there is nothing here in Atlanta that even comes close to that." We didn't have a black chamber. We didn't have a--we had the Black United Front [National Black United Front], which came close to doing something like that. So at any rate, I decided I would, I would call a few guys and invite them to dinner at the Mansion Restaurant [Atlanta, Georgia]. It ended up there was twenty-five or thirty of us showed up. And I talked to them about, you know, the group in, that I'd encountered in New York. And they were actually founded to combat police brutality in Harlem back in the, in the '50s [1950s] and the '60s [1960s]. That's how they got their group together. You know, they called it 100 Black Men [100 Black Men, Inc.; 100 Black Men of America, Inc.], and they worked with the police department and the mayor to stop some of the police brutality that was going on. And, and I said we need that kind of a community organization here, and the guys agreed with it. So we sat down and as a result of that, we decided we had to try to figure out what we were going to do. What can we do to impact the, the community in the City of Atlanta? And of course, one of those guys was in the superintendent of schools. He said, "I'll tell you what you can do. You can help some, keep some of these young people in school." He said, "You can help us, you know, basically give them some kind of a hope, some mind of a reason for staying in school and going on with life instead of dropping out. Our dropout rate is somewhere around 45 percent, 50 percent." And we said well, that makes sense. So what, what, what could we do? He said, "Well, I'll tell you what: he says I got a school. The worst school I got is Archer High School [S.H. Archer High School, Atlanta, Georgia] up at Perry Homes [Atlanta, Georgia] in the projects up there. And if we can figure out a way to help those kids through school and make certain that they went on to college and had a college education," he said, "We could do it like that guy did up in New York, that Eugene Lang." He said, "We challenge them. If they come through our program, and they do everything we say, that at the end of there, when you graduate, we'll make certain that your college tuition is paid for." Everybody, the room went silent. And then of course the, the accountants came up there. "How much would that cost?" "We don't know how much it would cost." "Well, don't you think we need to find out first?" So we went back. And the next meeting they came back, and when the accountants came up and gave their report, said, "You would have to raise anywhere between three hundred and fifty and a half million dollars every year." You've got to be kidding me. That's what it's gonna cost. Now if you get out there and make that promise, you better be able to deliver. And so we thought long and hard about it. And I was kind of the leader of the group, since I was the convener.