With COVID-19 threatening the livelihoods of small businesses everywhere, we wanted to take a moment to thank our brand partners, who are small business owners themselves. One of our brand partners, Aaron Zipp, who owns eight Wingstop locations in the Denver area, is offering some pointers for the young, small business owners out there who might be discouraged during this pandemic.
What made you want to be a brand partner with Wingstop?
My grandmother taught me how to cook when I was a boy, so I’ve always had a passion for the restaurant industry. When I decided that I was ready to make a move in the industry, I was living in Colorado and my dad was living in Texas, and I decided to go out and see him one night after I worked at my normal job. I think I landed at about 9:30 p.m., and my dad picked me up and I said, “Dad, I’m starving. Where are we going to go eat tonight?” He told me that this new place called “Wingstop” just opened up right down the road from his house and it was open until midnight. And so, forty-five minutes after I landed in Dallas, I found myself sitting inside the lobby of a Wingstop taking a bite of a Garlic Parmesan wing. I immediately fell in love with the product, and at that moment, I told my dad I was going to open a Wingstop in Colorado within a year – and one year later in 2003, I did.
What is the most rewarding thing about being a brand partner?
For me, the most rewarding thing is being able to employ so many team members. It really gives me a sense of peace knowing that I can help provide a living for others. I have almost 100 employees between my eight locations, and I know that they rely on me for income to feed their families and to survive in life. Another important aspect is the fact that I get to work within the community with churches, schools, and fellow businesses. It’s a lot of networking with individuals for success.
Do you have any tips for young business owners out there?
My tips for small business owners would be:
- Educate yourself and surround yourself with people who are smarter than you.
- Always remember that if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.
Anything you wish people knew about being a brand partner?
It’s very easy during these tough times to think that because someone’s associated with a giant company that they are fine, but a lot of brand partners are small business owners that are just trying to survive. It’s important to differentiate between a giant company, and a small business owner that owns a franchisee within a company. During my many years in Colorado, I’ve helped schools, churches and other businesses. Now with this pandemic, it’s kind of flip-flopped, and I’m asking those same people that I’ve supported to turn around and support small businesses. Not just on one day, not just once a year on Small Business Saturday, but just as much as possible, while at the same time keeping safe.