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Chris and Madison Newcomb.

ALAN TURNER — NEWK’S, one of the great Mississippi success stories

ALAN TURNER

Since its founding in 2004, Newk’s has rapidly grown into a Mississippi institution, expanding into more than 120 operations in 16 states throughout the Southeast and Gulf Coast regions. The company employs more than 845 people in its corporate-owned locations, and looks ahead to a bright future.

Recently, I talked with Madison Newcomb, Marketing Coordinator for Newk’s and daughter of Newk’s founder Chris Newcomb. In a real sense, Madison grew up with the business, learning not only from her parents but from those who work on the front lines of restaurant management.

“We just celebrated our 15th Anniversary,” she told me. “We’re definitely proud of what we’ve accomplished during those years. We have great employees, and also great customers.”

I asked her what she considers to be the most important things to know about Newk’s.

“I would definitely say that you should think of us a a family-oriented business,” she said. “We really care about our people and the communities we serve, and one of our goals is to make a difference everywhere we touch.”

She said that Newk’s attributes its success to its great menus, and that the company is adopting a “new look” that will be rolled out over the next couple of years.

I asked her where Newk’s has the most locations.

“Mississippi is home for us, and it’s still where we have the most locations,” she said. “There are 17 locations in Mississippi, followed by Georgia with 16 and Florida and Alabama with 15 each.”

The company prides itself on great food, offering a range of menu options and many healthy meal choices.

“We are always seeking to improve on what we do,” she said. “Innovation is an important part of our business.”

I asked how they look at business opportunities in Mississippi.

“It’s been a great place for us,” she said, adding that they view Mississippi as a very “business-positive state. We see great things in the future for our state, and we hope to continue to be a part of that.”

What challenges does she see on the horizon?

“I’d have to say that the whole issue of digital transformation and technology represent a continuing challenge to all businesses,” she suggested. “Things move so fast these days, and it’s always tough keeping up.”

She also mentioned that it was a challenge to keep up with the need to “refresh” their restaurants and keep them appealing and up to date.

In addition to their strong success as a Mississippi business, Madison also told me about their program called Newk’s Cares, an ovarian cancer awareness movement they founded. The movement is now celebrating its 6th year, and honors co-founder Lori Newcomb.

Madison was excited to report that Newk’s Cares has raised more than $400,000 this year alone, bringing the total funds raised during the 6 year period to more than $1.4 million.

“This truly is something we care deeply about,” she said. “Here in Mississippi, we hold events during September, which is ovarian cancer awareness month. We do a lunch & learn event with St. Dominic’s, and we work hard to help educate people on ovarian cancer.”

Newk’s has earned national recognition for its efforts in this regard, but also in other respects. Madison told me that Newk’s was ranked in Nation’s Restaurant News Top 200 Countdown, and was selected as a top food franchise by Entrepreneur.

Anyone who has dined at Newk’s certainly knows that the restaurant deserves the accolades.

For futher information on Newk’s visit their website4 at www.newks.com, or email newks@truepointagency.com.

Contact Mississippi Business Journal publisher Alan Turner at alan.turner@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1021.

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About Alan Turner