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Zaxby's returning to where it all began

Owners acquire property to build second Zaxby's near original location in the Boro


April 29, 2014

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    My dad told me that the best way to prevent ruining any relationship, especially a business relationship, is to never forget who brought you to the dance.
    Nearly 25 years ago, childhood friends Zach McLeroy and Tony Townley pooled their savings together and opened Zax's beside Henry's barber shop, in an 800-square-foot building in Statesboro. They believed their chicken recipe was fresher and better than what the local restaurants were serving at the time. When you complimented the chicken with their special sauce, it created an immediate addiction.
    Like many of you, I remember the first time I tried it on a hot summer night, sitting on the deck and thinking these guys just might be on to something. That was the beginning of what we now know as one of the fastest growing chains in America, Zaxby's.
    According to the Franchise Times, Zaxby's system sales grew 16.6 percent last year and crossed the $1 billion in sales threshold. With more than 600 locations, Zaxby's is quickly approaching its goal of having a national franchise, with restaurants from coast to coast.
    On the wall in every one of these restaurants, diners will find a tribute to the original Zax's and to Statesboro, who opened its arms (and wallets) to these two budding entrepreneurs.
    When you log onto their website or sit down at a table in any of these 600 locations, you can read their story, a story that all of us who have lived it has made our own.
    Zaxby's fan and Statesboro native Tonya Carter summed it up best when she said, "I tell all my out-of-town friends about how Zaxby's started. I guess us Statesboro people feel like Zaxby's is our baby."
    Indeed we do.
    In preparation for their 25th anniversary, Zach and Tony are coming home, so to speak. They have acquired property at the corner of Georgia Avenue and Chandler Road — on the other side of Henry's barber shop, just a few hundred yards from where it all began — to build a second Zaxby's in the Boro.
    They have not released the design concept for this Zaxby's or any information as to whether it will include elements of the original Zax's, a gift shop or any other shrine for the Zaxby's faithful.
    We will keep you posted on the plans as they are made available to us. Thanks, Zach and Tony, for not forgetting who brought you to the dance.w

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