Chick-fil-A has deep roots in faith, true grit

S. Truett Cathey, the 89-year-old founder of the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain, grew up in Atlanta, where his first business venture was operating a Coca-Cola stand in his yard at age 8.

In 1946, he and his brother opened a small restaurant, the Dwarf Grill, across the street from the Ford Motor Co. plant in Atlanta. There, Cathey developed the boneless chicken-breast sandwich that was to become the basis of his Chick-fil-A fast-food chain.

Today, the Cathey family still owns Chick-fil-A, which has expanded to 1,483 locations in 38 states, including Tennessee. Annual sales exceed $2.8 billion.

Cathey also is known for philanthropic work, including his WinShape Foundation, which operates foster homes, summer camps for children, college scholarship programs and a retreat in the north Georgia mountains for marriage-enrichment programs and church conferences.

His restaurants are always closed on Sundays, a reflection of the company’s statement of purpose: “To glorify God by being a faithful steward to all that is entrusted to us.”

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