As seen on Michael Baisden Live ( a paid partnership)
Ashley Lamothe Derby made history last year when she announced plans to open the first Chick-Fil-A location in downtown Los Angeles.
Today that plan is coming closer to reality. The Spelman graduate will be opening the new Chick-Fil-A location on 7th and Figueroa on Thursday, April 26th in downtown Los Angeles. The 32 year-old announced the exciting news on her Instagram on Tuesday.
One of her followers commented how excited they were for her and that its “been a doozie of a process!”
The company considers the move a great first step in expanding its west coast roots. Last year, Chick-Fil-A was ranked as a number one chicken restaurant brand in the Harris Poll EquiTrend Study, beating out Zaxby’s. Other restaurants on the list included Five Guys Burgers and Fries ( burger category), The Cheesecake Factory (casual dining) and Moe’s Southwest Grill (fast casual Mexican). The new 6,500 square foot building in LA will employ 80 full and part-time employees and seat up to 80 people.
“The energy in downtown L.A. is palpable,” said Derby in a press release about the new location. “I cannot wait to become a part of this growing neighborhood, and I look forward to welcoming our guests with hand-crafted food and hospitality.”
The Atlanta native has been working in the fast food industry since she was 15 years-old. She started working for Chick-Fil A as a team member while she was still in college to save money to buy a car.
“I’ve been a team member, a cashier, worked the front counter, the drive thru,” Derby tells the LA Sentinel in a 2017 interview. “I’ve worked in the kitchen with food prep, I’ve pretty much done it all.”
But she ended up working there throughout her years at Spelman. While studying undergrad, working at Chick-Fil-A inspired Derby to reportedly change her major from theater to an economics major, when her operating manager encouraged her to pursue more leadership roles within the company.
“Because I loved being in the restaurant so much, it just seemed like the perfect fit,” she tells the LA Sentinel .
After graduating, Derby spent three years attending management and development programs before she was finally able to relocate and open a franchise location near the University of Southern California in 2011 , making her the youngest black female franchise owner in the company’s history at the age of 26. As the manager of the USC location, Derby has been awarded Chick-fil-A’s Champion Club Award, an honor the company says is “reserved for Operators whose businesses experience particularly high growth and success.”
Derby says one of her main goals as a franchise owner is to encourage her team to never give up on their goals and dreams.
“I want to help them get to where they want to go, whether it’s a career with Chick-fil-A, or studying law or medicine, or anything. ” Derby tells blogging site, Because We Can. “I want to help them make that next step, just like so many have done for me.
Derby is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She is in doubt following the footsteps of her beloved alma mater. Historically, Spelman College has been known to produce successful women across all career fields. Famous alumni include actress Keyshia Knight-Pulliam, Esther Rolle, Pulitzer Prize winning author Alice Walker and Bernice King, the daughter of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and CEO of The King Center in Atlanta. The college recently celebrated its 137th anniversary on April 11th.
You can follow the process of the Chick-Fil-A in downtown LA on Instagram by clicking here.
A working journalist, entrepreneur and founder of RoyalTee Enterprises. Born and raised in Tampa, Fla. The vision of RoyalTee was inspired in 2015 by Alexia’s ambitions to return to her passion for creative writing and publishing and create a platform to showcase the excellence of minority women across the country through professional, personal and social ventures.