“We’re proud of our product, and we feel that we have the best chicken fingers in the south. But we were pleas-antly surprised at the response we got during our first day,” said co-owner Will Garrett. “We were busy from the time we opened until the time we closed … it was great.”
Business was so good on opening day that the store, which is normally open from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., had to close early that night because it could no longer meet the demand from customers.
“It’s a nice problem to have,” Bennett said. “We were thrilled with the turnout, and now we just have to make ad-justments to make sure that we have enough food to take care of everybody from now on. We just weren’t prepared to handle that kind of business during our opening. There was one point where we had all of our 44 seats full, and nearly 100 people standing … it was nuts.”
The new Ringgold location marks the third for Bennett and his business partner Grady Williams Jr. The two also own locations in Trenton, Ga., and Signal Mountain, Tenn.
“We’re very excited about being here in Ringgold,” Bennett said. “The city has been very welcoming to us, and our first few days of business have told us that the public is glad that we are here as well.”
Guthrie’s, which has been a popular eatery in the south since 1965, initially began in college towns before branching out to multiple locations.
“Guthrie’s really got its start on the campuses of Auburn University and UGA (University of Georgia),” Bennett said. “Now there are locations in Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, and there will soon be one opening in Ohio. Once people get a taste of Guthrie’s, they’re hooked.”
Bennett said he’s hoping to establish a relationship with the schools and their sports teams in an attempt to fur-ther root Guthrie’s into the Ringgold community.
“We have specials for our football teams in Trenton and Signal Mountain where we feed the football team after every home win,” Bennett said. “We’d like to build something like that with Ringgold and Heritage high schools here.”
According to Bennett, the turnout and feedback received during the store’s grand opening and opening weekend will go a long way in helping make adjustments to provide great service to its customers.
“We had a couple of things that we would have like to have gone better, but it’s always a process the first couple of days,” he said. “We hated that customers had to wait a little bit here and there, but that’s always going to be a little bit of an issue when your items are fresh and made to order. Ringgold is hungry for chicken though, and we’re very thankful for that.”
Guthrie’s is open seven days a week and offers catering, parties, and deliveries for larger orders.
What: Guthrie’s golden fried chicken fingers
Where: 67 Poplar Springs Road in Ringgold
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., 7 days a week