20 Under 40 Feature: Mark WoodsonPublished 2:55pm Monday, July 29, 2013
High standards set by his father, paired with a love for Selma is what makes Mark Woodson, manager of Kentucky Fried Chicken, a key player in Selma’s success.
Born and raised in Selma, Woodson said there is no other place he would rather work and raise a family.
“People talk about our KFC all over the country,” Woodson said with a smile. “I have truckers that come in and say the best KFC they’ve ever had, from Maine to California is Selma’s KFC.”
Going the extra mile to give his customers a quality product is what makes KFC, “Selma’s favorite chicken,” Woodson said. First establishing a branch in 1970, Woodson said his father set a high precedent for how the business operated.
“Oddly enough he looked a lot like Colonel Sanders,” Woodson said with a laugh. “He was just a real hard working man; he taught me everything I know about how to run a business.”
After graduating high school, Woodson went on to earn his undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama. During summer breaks in college Woodson said he would always come back home to Selma to lend a hand in the kitchen at KFC.
“After graduating college in 1997, I came back here and began working with my brother and father,” Woodson said. “Then my father passed away in 2007 and my brother shortly after, so it was pretty much up to me to figure it out and run the business.”
Taking on a heavy responsibility, Woodson said he had to buckle down in order to continue what his father started.
“You obviously want to be successful, but at the same time you have to represent your company and Selma,” Woodson said. “It’s hard when you’re the final say — it’s a learning process every day.”
To guarantee that his customers have the finest food, Woodson said he goes above and beyond what KFC calls for. Spending a little extra money and time to go the extra mile is something Woodson said is necessary to “really deliver the best product.”
“We try to have good food, good service and a clean restaurant,” he said. “We change the shortening out every week, and it costs a little more and it’s more than what KFC calls for, but that’s what my dad said we were going to do.”
And aside from running a successful business, Woodson said it’s the people of Selma and the great community that keep him and his family living in the area. Although he could move to another branch in a larger city, Woodson said he would never leave Selma because “it’s simply our home.”
“I love Selma and I want to raise a family here,” Woodson said. “I could move somewhere else and still have this business, but I have two little girls that I love very much and I want them to grow up in Selma — just like I did.”