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Start Your Business Entrepreneurs

Small Business Snapshot: Chicken Salad Chick

Small Business Snapshot: Chicken Salad Chick Credit: Chicken Salad Chick

Our Small Business Snapshot series features photos that represent, in just one image, what the small businesses we feature are all about. Stacy Brown, founder and vice president of brand development of the Chicken Salad Chick franchise, explains how this image represents her business.

The Chicken Salad Chick brand was born in August 2007, when after 10 years of marriage, I was on my own after a divorce. The last thing I wanted was for my three children's daily routine to change more than it had to, so that meant I needed to figure out how to support them from home. I had always loved chicken salad and decided I could sell the southern favorite to local friends and neighbors to help make ends meet. With a basket on my arm, a nod to the company's current logo, and four different chicken salad flavors in hand, I embarked on my self-made door-to-door delivery service.

Once the local county health department wouldn't allow me to continue making and selling my recipes out of my home kitchen, I decided to launch my first restaurant in 2008, with the help of family friend and my future husband, Kevin Brown. Kevin was instrumental in turning my passion into a successful business. He established, managed and enhanced the restaurant operations, while working tirelessly to create a more efficient kitchen. As I perfected my recipes, Kevin optimized the business and pushed for the brand to become a franchise.

Kevin was diagnosed with cancer in 2014, and he fought back hard against it, as only someone truly amazing could do. He inspired all of us to be our best selves and make a difference. Together, we established the Chicken Salad Chick Foundation as a way to provide funding to various charities committed to finding a cure for cancer and ending hunger in America. Kevin lost his battle with cancer late last year, but not without putting things in place to secure our family’s and the company's future.

Each flavor (and special woman) is represented in the photo, along with me and my late husband Kevin, who helped grow Chicken Salad Chick into the successful restaurant franchise it is today. Like any true southerner, I've always had a strong love for chicken salad, but it was each of these women that inspired the signature flavors that are now served at all Chicken Salad Chick locations. Their inspiration has been crucial to the success of the company.

We've come a long way and it's been beyond rewarding to watch my door-to-door delivery service transform into a 57-unit restaurant franchise. The company has a bright future and clear direction with wonderful and growing franchise partners. 

Edited for length and clarity by Shannon Gausepohl.