This month’s BOOM! profile is David Barranco of Chappy’s Deli. David has probably served you breakfast lunch or dinner at one of the Chappy’s locations in Central Alabama because he loves to interact with his customers and listen to their stories. That’s one of the reasons we wanted to profile David, because we thought our readers would want to listen to his story. Not only about his successful family owned restaurant business, but about his Breast Cancer story. He is a genuine man who loves God, Family and of course Chappy’s Deli! We think you’ll enjoy getting to know David and listening to his story, it’s worth sharing.
BOOM!: Please give us a brief biography, i.e. where you’re from, education, what brought you to the Montgomery area, did you raise your family here, schools, married, family, etc?
David: Born in Birmingham AL, we moved to Montgomery when I was still in diapers. My Dad died right after the move and my Mom, Dolly, was left with 4 boys in a strange city, no job, little money, …but a very strong faith.
She taught each of us how to work, how to pray, how to treat and care about people and the value of family. As time passed we all gathered at her house each Sunday evening for a meal or “Family” as it became known, a tradition that still continues every Sunday evening.
My brothers Nap, Carl, Bill and I all stayed and grew up in Montgomery, met our wives and raised our families here. My wife Jeanne’s (McGinty) family also lived in Montgomery: Shea & Sid Schroll, Maureen & Arthur Britton, and Charlie & Yvonne McGinty Jr. My wife’s Mom still lives in Montgomery……Jeanne or Nan as the grandkids call her.
I met Jeanne when we both attended Montgomery Catholic High School. We married in 1976 the month after we both graduated from Auburn University.
Jeanne and I have 5 married children and 8 “grands” …and they are GRAND! Jeff & Beth (Peyton, Cara, Hadley & JR), Charlie & Rachel (Maddie & Sophia) Ben & Alana (Thomas) Andy & Jenny (due in January), and Laura & Shawn (Addison)
BOOM!: Chappy’s Deli has become an eating out tradition in the River Region, especially for its Kids Eat Free offer. As one of the owners, tell us about your business, what have been some challenges? What about the rewards of owning your own business? Any lessons you can share with other aspiring entrepreneurs?
David: We are blessed that we have been embraced by the River Region community. We have the absolute best customers and we are most grateful for the opportunity to serve each and every one. We have also been abundantly blessed by a caring team and workforce that IS Chappy’s Deli…..and it takes a team. Thankfully we all share the same basic values and principles. Every business has daily challenges and ours are probably no different than anyone else’s. We lean heavily, as Mom taught, on help from above to shoulder those challenges. Work, and work hard, be extremely flexible and learn to adapt. Have a love of people and what you do!
BOOM!: Many of us in the Boomer age look forward to the time when the kids are finally out of the house, on their own, or off to college, then we experience that “empty nest” syndrome. What kind of experience has that been for you?
David: In the past 6 years our 5 children all married, but having a large family and all living close to home, we have never been true empty nesters. Thankfully it’s a rare day that goes by without talking, seeing and/or being with family. It’s the same with my brothers and their families. Every year we vacation as a family together which now numbers 80 plus. A niece joked since we don’t get to see enough of each other…we all go on vacation together.
BOOM!: What are you most passionate about?
David: Faith, family, and work are the key energizers. Every day is filled with these three (except Chappy’s Deli is closed on Sunday)
BOOM!: How do you like to relax and wind down from a hard day’s work at the restaurant?
David: By the time I get home after 11-12 hour day…. I’m usually toast. I reset with dinner and catching up with Jeanne, a good night’s sleep, early morning prayer time, and a jog several mornings.
BOOM!: Favorite vacation spot? Any travel dreams planned for the future?
David: Jeanne and I enjoy the coast and the mountains. Work makes it a little hard to get away when we would like. (Jeanne is very patient in waiting for the day that I slow down from working 6 days.)
BOOM!: What is it about living in the Montgomery/River Region area that you like?
David: It’s my Home, it’s the People, its Family, it’s Friends, it’s my Church Family (St. Bede Catholic Church) it’s Chappy’s Deli Family, and on and on . Plenty to do here and it’s easy to get anywhere even during rush hour.
BOOM!: As a busy entrepreneur, you still find time to be involved with our community, what’s your philosophy on serving others?
David: We are supposed to serve..we joke that luckily we get paid to serve! Giving back is how we were raised. Mom had to have help; she and we never forgot it… she taught us, in whatever way we could, pay it forward. (Can you tell yet how much Mom meant to me?)
BOOM!: You work closely with your family at Chappy’s Deli and your son Jeff has become a radio personality along with Mike Castanza, how much fun do you have working with your family every day?
David: My brother Nap along with Carl, Bill & I started Chappy’s Deli as a Family run business in 1989. (and what tremendous mentors they are still trying to “straighten me out”). Nap, Jeff, my son Ben and I work in the day to day operations, along with niece Holly…. but a lot of our children, nieces, nephews, friends, church & school family, etc have worked there. (All still pitch in when needed). Family is how we are built and Mike Castanza and team have the same mindset and are a natural extension of family. At some point we have all laughed, cried, joked, consoled, helped, prayed and cared for each other, etc…just what families are supposed to do. Being with Family is fun, working with Family is likewise fun…and we are all Family. We likewise try to treat everyone that comes in as Family. (maybe not the Family discount!)
BOOM!: What would you do if you didn’t operate Chappy’s Deli? Any dream jobs?
David: Fortunately I’m at my dream job, I love it and I thank God for it.
BOOM!: Do you have any hobbies or other activities that grab your attention?
David: Other than those previously mentioned, grilling out, college football, tinkering with repairs, I enjoy technology, (i-pads & i-phones) maybe a little too much
BOOM!: Tell us about your grandchildren? We assume they eat free? What do they call you?
David: Since we have 5 kids, eating out was pricey…that’s the reason Chappy’s Deli has a kids eat free menu. Like every granddad, or Popi as I’m called, I do my very best to spoil, play with, give in to, and stop what I’m doing whenever one of the Grands ask. Its easy now since the oldest is just 6. All have found a way to steal Popi & Gigi’s heart.
BOOM!: Many of us are defined by our work, what does Chappy’s Deli mean to you?
David: Again, I’m blessed to be able to work at what I love. Of course being the business that my family began makes it special.
But a lot of the “stories” are the defining highlights…
• A 3 year old’s first choice is to go to Chappy’s Deli.
• After a funeral the grieving family comes in to their Dads favorite spot.
• A worker delivering Mom’s recipe Chicken & Rice soup to a fellow worker when sick.
• Gathering for the Holidays and Chappy’s food is required.
• A Marine serving us overseas comes in upon his return craving Chappy’s while gone.
• Our staff adopting and embracing our special needs workers.
• And many, many more that keeps blowing me away.
BOOM!: What future challenges do you have? Would you like to expand your business? Start new ones? Or just take it easy for awhile?
David: Never happy to sit back, always looking for opportunities to improve, expand, tweak, and do better. We opened the Prattville location last year; currently we are totally redoing Perry Hill, and will remodel the Baptist South location next. We are always open to opportunities for expansion and growth as they come up.
If you have any questions for David, drop by Chappy’s Deli…he may be the one serving the food! Chappy’s Deli has locations on Perry Hill Rd, Peppertree on Vaughn Rd, Baptist South, Prattville and Auburn. For more info visit chappysdeli.com. Thanks to Kim Bethea from The Studio @ Eastchase for her professional cover photos. If you have questions, comments or suggestions, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
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