SYLACAUGA, Ala. – For the last few years Sylacauga’s Chick-fil-A owner and operator, Micah Harris, has been looking for the perfect opportunity to allow him to get back to his home state of Alabama.
Harris became a 26-year-old owner and operator of a Chick-fil-A at Coastland Center Mall in Naples, Fla. in 2014, after working his way up Chick-fil-A’s ladder. For four years, Harris lived more than 700 miles away from his hometown of Fultondale, Ala. which lies just north of Birmingham. Harris, who has a wife and two young children, explained the majority of his family is from, and still lives in the Birmingham area, making the move back to Alabama a true “homecoming.”
“Our overall goal and dream has been to get closer to family and get back to Alabama. We’ve missed the people here,” Harris said. “This is incredible and a great opportunity. It’s dream in the making for us.”
Harris’ journey with the company began as a 17-year-old high school student in Gardendale, Ala. In his first job with the company, Harris was just getting his feet wet in the Chick-fil-A culture. He told SylacaugaNews.com he worked his way up the ladder, continuing to work at the fast food company while he finished high school. That way of life continued into his college career. He graduated from the University of Alabama-Birmingham with a degree in Human Resources Management in 2010. Over his eight years working in Gardendale, he advanced his status from team member to manager before making multiple stops on his way to becoming owner and operator of the Naples location.
Harris credits much of his success to the owner of the location he began his journey with, Mike Holmes. “In the eight years with him, he spent one-on-one time developing me and his other leaders to help us achieve the best future that we could.” Harris stated. “That future for me was a Chick-fil-A franchisee, and he was the one who encouraged me and championed me throughout that long, slow process.”
Harris always knew he wanted to make it back to Alabama, but moving back to own and operate the Sylacauga restaurant was not the easiest decision. “We asked ourselves of this was even possible for us. We have two kids who were both under 3-years-old at the time when this came about. It wasn’t very likely that we were going to up and move, but we prayed about it…and after, it looked like a no-brainer,” he said.
Before being selected to operate the restaurant Harris visited Sylacauga and fell in love with the area. “Everyone we met was just super sweet to us. We knew this is where we want to settle in, and this is where we need to be.”
Among being in the midst of all of his friends and family once again, Harris said he is especially excited to share this experience with his grandmother, Rose. She was never able to make the 760 mile trip to Naples to see what her grandson accomplished. Now, Rose will be bale to make the 45 mile drive to Sylacauga to experience Harris’ success first hand.
Sharing his success within the company with others that will work in his restaurant is important to Harris. Just like Holmes impacted his life, he is planning to do the same, pushing his employees to be better, chase their dreams, and develop in their careers.
Harris’ restaurant has many amenities he is excited about that not all Chick-fil-A’s are equipped with. He specifically noted the multi-lane order point drive-thru that will merge into a single pick-up line. In the drive-thru line, the team at Chick-fil-A will greet as many guests in a face-to-face capacity to expedite orders as quickly as possible which will include the option of outside payment before arriving to the pick-up window. He also mentioned the indoor playground and the farm style look the inside of the store will feature as a few other favorites.
Spending his entire adult life with the Chick-fil-A, Harris has found his way around the extensive menu trying everything it has to offer. His favorite item on the menu overall is the Spicy Chicken Sandwich with Colby Jack cheese, topping Chick-fil-A’s most popular menu item, the original Chicken Sandwich. His favorite breakfast item is the Hashbrown Scramble Burrito, favorite sauce is Cick-fil-A sauce, and favorite dessert is the chocolate chip cookie (warmed of course.)
All these menu items, and more, can be yours to try in just a few short weeks. Harris said the company is shooting for early May to open his Chick-fil-A.