Columbia County's Chamber of Commerce scored a major coup when it landed Chik-Fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy as the speaker for its inaugural Power Luncheon 2005.
Scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at Warren Baptist Church, the luncheon is an opportunity for small businesses to hear a big-time leader.
Cathy is a true example of a small businessman who made it big. He started by operating a Coca-Cola stand in his Atlanta front yard during the Depression, to opening his Dwarf Grill restaurant in Hapeville, Ga., and building it into what has become a $1.75 billion chain of more than 1,200 restaurants.
Even more remarkable than Cathy's business acumen and success is the ethic the 84-year-old Cathy brings to the corporate world, which is what attendees will hear Thursday. Chik-Fil-A didn't become one of the nation's more successful franchises through cutthroat tactics, but by steady guidance from a man firmly founded in Christian principles.
In fact, one of the hallmarks of the Chik-Fil-A chain is that in the midst of tough competition, the restaurants still close on Sunday. The company, in a press release to the question asked most often about the chain, gives this explanation:
"Cathy believes that being closed on Sundays says two important things to people: One, that there must be something special about the way Chik-Fil-A people view their spiritual life. And, two, that there must be something special about how Chik-Fil-A feels about its people."
Has the closed-on-Sunday policy hurt Chik-Fil-A financially? The company contends its sales say no: The restaurants "generate more business per square foot in six days than many other quick-service restaurants produce in seven."
Ethical business, run by moral leadership, with a wide-open record of continued success: That's the example Cathy sets, and a wonderful example for Columbia County's Chamber to bring to its members.
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