GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A company that has been serving up hot and fresh fried chicken for more than a century said the secret to its success is keeping up with the times. Dodge's Chicken is about to open a brand new store in Gulfport. Thursday there was a party for special guests at the Highway 49 location, which officials say is the first of its kind for the company.
To run its new store, Dodge's hired on 39 new employees. Trijah McBeth is one of them.
"The training has been amazing," said McBeth. "I'm so excited for the store to open up and for everyone to see what we're bringing to the table on Highway 49."
The Highway 49 location joins 57 other Dodge's in nine Southern states. While the Tupelo-based company often does renovations, officials say this is the first new build in more than a decade. So the company wanted to take the opportunity to launch something new and innovative.
Amy Adair of Dodge's Chicken said, "What we'd like to do is bridge the gap between a convenience store that has food to be a convenient restaurant that also happens to have fuel. So one stop shop for you in whatever way that you'd like to. You can stop and cash your check and fill up your tank, grab something to eat and then out the door on your way."
Dodge's was founded in 1872 and officials say they've stayed around by keeping up with the times.
"What we like to do is make sure that we're constantly reinventing ourselves and doing whatever it is that the guest and the consumer wants from us," said Adair. "So as we're out there and we're talking with our folks in our communities and doing business with other people we get reminded, hey we'd like this or hey why don't you try that, and we constantly try to build a brand that is based on what the consumer wants."
The new store also means new business for local suppliers. Joanna Vander Pol of Hotel and Restaurant Supply stopped by to make a delivery.
"They actually set up a credit account with our company so we're excited about it," said Vander Pol. "We deliver with them to keep them from leaving to make sure the business opens well."
The business opens to the general public on Tuesday. Dodge's officials said they have owned the property on Highway 49 for nearly 30 years and finally decided now was the right time to build. The new store is located at 2914 25th Avenue (Hwy 49) in Gulfport.