RIPLEY • Checkers Drive-In is up and running in Ripley, and franchise owner Sedrick Turner said it was the best opening weekend for any of his restaurants.
“We had a great, great weekend,” said Turner, “The first day started off better than any of our stores. The first day of sales was better than any store we have ever opened. And it was a soft opening. Nobody knew we were opening.”
The store’s grand opening was originally set for Tuesday, Nov. 3, but Turner wanted to take advantage of First Monday weekend and opened early.
The Ripley location is the fourth Checkers location for Turner. He and his father, William, who Turner refers to as the Head Honcho, own stores in Tupelo and Pontotoc as well.
“This store has taken off better than Tupelo. That should tell you something. Smaller markets tend to do better, and a lot of people overlook that. I saw differently in Pontotoc and Ripley,” continued Turner.
Turner and his father got involved with the Checkers brand because of how they treat their franchisees and the opportunities they offer to veterans. Turner’s father is a 30-plus-year veteran Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force. The Checkers team provided them their first location in Tupelo for free since William is a veteran.
“That was an attractive point for us. A lot of people overlook our veterans. They put their life on the line. People don’t understand that. I think Checkers is one of the first and the only ones that are doing it today. And I think that’s a good strategy. I think they need to continue their strategy because many veterans are getting out of the service and can’t find a job. They need opportunities like everybody else, and that is appreciated.”
Turner says he wants to give back to the community, adopt some schools and make a positive difference. He feels the Ripley community has already welcomed him in and is thankful for that.
“Bobby Martin, that is the nicest man you will ever meet in your life. He made us feel welcome. And one day, the mayor stopped what he was doing to come down and shake my hand. That meant a lot.”
Checkers opens at 10 a.m. every day. They are located at 825 City Avenue South, across from Walmart. Turner has plans to open in Oxford next, then Corinth, Columbus and Houston.