BIG Appreciation Month | Day 11 of 28
The Best Reason
To Visit The Mall
When I was young I hated going to the Fort Henry Mall with my Mom. She would frequent Belk and Pennys and would drag me along. But, you know the entire time, my adolescent self was continually asking to hit the nearby KB Toys. Once we would finish shopping, there were two things on my mind.... Charley's Steakery and Chick-fil-a. It didn't matter how bored, tired, whiney, bored, or even... bored shopping for clothing (that I couldn't care less about) made me. When it was time to eat, I was rejuvenated. I thought those times would never change, but they did. For years, mall visitors had declined rapidly and I thought the mall could close anytime. I was worried I would never get a chance to let my son experience a mall shopping trip with his mother. However, in what seemed to be the last moments for the mall, a remodeling project began. The mall became a mural for local culture and some semi-cringe worthy (but entertaining) inspirational signs like "Achieve Your Goals". I was so impressed, but the food court was still lacking. That is, however, until Ed Fuqua purchased the Charley's Steakery in the mall, remodeled it, and placed some of the best staff the store has ever seen. I have my favorite mall pasttime back and the food, service, and quality have honestly never been better. The mall redesign is no longer just a new look, it's a new experience for the Tri-Cities and a fun-family excursion followed by the best cheese-steaks this side of the Serengeti (yes, I did have to spell check that).
Cheese Steaks and a Movie
I met Ed Fuqua years ago at the Charleys in Bristol, VA, near exit 7, while I was working nearby at Alpha Natural Resources. He was so nice and smiling from ear to ear. My dad and I would meet there around lunch at least 2-3 times a month and Ed was ALWAYS there to meet us. I had no idea he was the owner, so I asked him when his boss would finally allow him to take a day off. He never said, “I am the boss” or anything like that. Instead, he said “Day off? When work is this fun who would want to take a day off?”. If you visit one of his stores you will meet employees, and especially store managers, who have the same qualities that made Ed such a success.
He never said “I am the boss” or anything like that. Instead, he said “Day off? When work is this fun who would want to take a day off?”
You may be saying to yourself, “Why appreciate a franchise when there are so many local businesses that deserve it too?” and I see your point. I am not appreciating a franchise, I am appreciating a business owner who has built local business through his character. I appreciate the employees who actually care about the job they do and the service they provide. I appreciate a mall that has become attractive again. If you appreciate the new mall, Ed Fuqua, or Charleys Cheese Steaks then reach out and let them know (and get a cheesesteak or two).
A new Charleys Cheese Steaks, new owner, wonderful staff, and amazing food in a reformed mall.
For bringing back a hallmark shopping experience to the Tri-Cities
*Please note that BIG is not affiliated with Charleys Cheese Steaks or The Fort Henry Mall at this time. We just love their food and what they mean to our local mall.