Hardee’s restaurant in the Pioneer Village Shopping Center celebrates 40 years in Mountain City. Photo by Joey Icenhour
By Meg Dickens
On July 3, 1981, the Mountain City location of Hardee’s opened its doors. Forty years later, the restaurant is still going strong. Those involved with the business took a moment to look back and reminisce at this milestone.
Original owner Jim Hastings reportedly chose the location site while passing through Mountain City while heading to West Virginia, according to his son and District Manager Corey Hastings. Despite naysayers, this branch is reportedly “one of the top stores in the system.”
“They told him he was crazy for building in Mountain City,” Corey told The Tomahawk. “The community here really supports us. We’re grateful.”
Hardee’s has shown support for the community as well. For example, the company has sponsored athlete recognition in print media for many decades. It also partners with local entities like the Johnson County Senior Center. Hardee’s was originally under Spartan Food Systems, which long-term Hardee’s employee and original Mountain City Manager Mike White explained was “rigid.” Hastings reportedly wanted a more open family feeling for his establishment and worked towards that. The location has also been a hangout spot for teens in the evening and older generations in the mornings.
According to White, the business broke many records when opening and continues to do so today. Among other awards, the branch receives a minimum of one Readers’ Choice Award each year. White usually opened the store for breakfast in the mornings and is well known among early morning patrons.
“We’re fortunate that people accepted us,” said White. “We try to give back to the community as much as possible. There were so many best parts, but the best is the people I got to meet. People in the community were really good to me. This is home for me now.”
The Mountain City branch of Hardee’s is located at 141 Pioneer Village Drive. According to corporate, the business currently employees 33 people. For more information on this location, call (423) 727-9977 or visit hardees.com.