HoopsHype Junior Bridgeman rumors
Louisville businessman and former NBA star Junior Bridgeman has joined current NBA player Chauncey Billups in the purchase of 30 St. Louis restaurants from Wendy's Co. As the St. Louis Business Journal reported, the deal continues Bridgeman's long-term relationship with the Wendy's chain but marks a foray into the restaurant industry for Billups, a veteran guard who now plays for the Detroit Pistons. Business News
The Wendy's Company today announced the sale of 30 restaurants in the St. Louis market to BB St. Louis LLC, a partnership headed by current Wendy's franchisee and former Milwaukee Bucks star Junior Bridgeman, along with current NBA star Chauncey Billups. BizTimes
"Chauncey Billups and I are excited about our partnership in the Wendy's system," Bridgeman said. "We have a tremendous opportunity in the St. Louis market, and our goal is to build upon the positive momentum and growth that the Wendy's brand is currently experiencing." BizTimes
After a celebrated career with the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers, Junior Bridgeman was working the line at a Wendy’s fast- food restaurant in Milwaukee. “My job was to make sure what you ordered was on your tray and to thank you for coming,” he told an assembled group of active and retired professional athletes hosted by the Allied Athletes Group earlier this year in Atlanta. “A woman came in and looked at me like she recognized me.” He didn’t think anything about it until the next day, when he heard a woman call into a local talk show and say, “I think it’s a shame. I was at the Wendy’s and I saw Junior Bridgeman working behind the counter … if that’s the best these ex-athletes can do…” Franchise Times Magazine
But Bridgeman just laughed. Perhaps, it’s because the last laugh really is his. He owned that particular Wendy’s plus several others. Today his company runs 162 Wendy’s and 121 Chili’s and is No. 3 on the Restaurant Finance Monitor’s Top 200 franchisee-owned companies, with $507 million in revenue. In addition, he has other restaurant deals in the works. And while nothing beats the high of winning a game at the very top competitive level, he says giving jobs to people and watching them develop is heart-warming, if not exactly heart-thumping. “He’d always say each day, each opportunity was like a brand-new game,” his wife of 34 years, Doris Bridgeman, says about the restaurant business. “I knew his heart wasn’t in staying in athletics. I knew he wanted to be his own boss.” Franchise Times Magazine
Bridgeman is not flashy. The 6’5” former small forward/shooting guard is more comfortable out of the limelight than in it. Perhaps because there wasn’t 24/7 media attention when he played from 1975 to 1987, Bridgeman was a hard-won cover story for Franchise Times (Notice who’s on the cover - it’s not him). “He’s one of those E.F. Hutton types,” his wife says. “He’s relatively quiet so when words of wisdom come out of his mouth, people listen.” Franchise Times Magazine
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