She started as an intern!
Meet Amber Thomas, the only Black Chick-Fil-A owner in San Diego County, CBS 8 reports.
Just five years ago, Thomas had dreams of becoming a physical therapist, taking an internship at a local Chick-Fil-A. It was her sister who inspired her to dream bigger and focus on a possible entrepreneurship opportunity.
“She wanted to be a physical therapist and she was adamant about that. She was like, ‘No, mom I’m not going to be a Chick-Fil-A owner,’ and then it just got in her blood. Her sister inspired her to be an owner and it went from there,” recalled Thomas’ mother Monica Hopkins.
Now Thomas has made history, becoming the only Black Chick-fil-A owner in the San Diego suburb of Spring Valley, California. Thomas said the opportunity is still like a dream come true.
Behind the scenes at the new @ChickfilA in Spring Valley, CA as many have stopped by to congratulate its owner Amber Thomas, who is the only Black operator of a Chick-fil-A restaurant in San Diego County. Amber started as a Chick-fil-A employee at 17 years old in San Diego @CBS8 pic.twitter.com/Sx2vm6ivyd
— Heather HOPE (@HopeNEWS8) July 14, 2022
“I never thought coming into this parking lot saying like, ‘Hey, one day I’m going to own and operate a Chick-fil-A in this location.’ So, it goes back to making it feel surreal. I’m still trying to register the fact that I’m here, that I’m serving this community,” she told reporters.
As a new franchise restaurant owner, Thomas said she’s received a lot of support from the community who are excited to see a Black woman running a restaurant.
“I’ve had so many come in and provide support and saying like, ‘Hey, it is great to see someone who looks like me running a restaurant and owning a restaurant in our community,'” said Thomas.
She tries to stay very hands-on, greeting customers when they arrive and also encouraging her employees, often thinking of what she would say to encourage herself when she was at that age.
“I would just tell her that keep doing what you’re doing, work hard, and you’ll be so proud of yourself later on down the line,” said Thomas.
We think her younger self would definitely be proud. Congratulations, Amber!
Photos Courtesy of BlackBusiness.com