Religion

FAITH ALIVE: Alex Vann, Operator, owner Chick-fil-A, Wynnton Road

How long have you been here? Since Aug. 1. My family and I still have to sell our house in Woodstock.

Who’s in your family?

My wife is Julie and we’ve been married 11 years. We have four children from ages 14 though 19 months. Anyone doing the math will see that we’ve not been married more than 14 years. We adopted our oldest daughter when she was 5. She has Asperger’s Syndrome and she didn’t speak when we got her.

Describe Asperger’s.

It’s generally the more high-functioning form of autism. They have preoccupations. If their preoccupation enters their world, their mind will jump track. Right now she loves animals and insects. She’s done wonderfully well with horses.

What did you do before moving here?

I had the Chick-fil-A in downtown Atlanta, across from Piedmont Hospital. I was there five years. When I was 16, I started working in the Fayetteville (Ga.) Dwarf House. They sent me to the dish room and I wanted to quit and my father said I couldn’t. I had dishpan hands so bad, I couldn’t hold a football. But I stuck it out. I kept working for them off and on for the next eight years.

Are you from Fayetteville? No. My dad was in the Army so we lived all over. I graduated from Sandy Creek High School in Tyrone, Ga., in 1995. My wife and I met at the Dwarf House, then we both went to college at Mercer University. She graduated in 1998 and I graduated in ‘99. I kept working for Chickfil-A and I was also supply preaching at Faith Baptist in Fairburn; and then I became the pastor for three years. I left there in ‘01.

What happened with Chick-fil-A? I was praying about what direction to take, and Dan Cathy said, ‘Alex, why don’t you think about taking your own store?’ Within two weeks, I had found a store in Lafayette, Ind. We moved there in February of 2002. The first day, we had eight inches of snow. While we were there, I worked with the youth as a Sunday school teacher in West Lafayette. I was there three years, then there was an opportunity at the store in Atlanta. ... My wife is from the McDonough area.

Do you have a church here? No. We’re members of First Baptist Church of Woodstock, where I taught Sunday school. We’ll find one when everyone is settled here. I’m now enrolled at Liberty University, getting my master’s online — in management and leadership. I just started.

What’s a typical day?

I get here relatively early. I don’t open, except I’m here early on Fridays when First Baptist has its high- schoolers and middle-schoolers here. There is a mountain of backpacks, and several parents stay and take everyone to school. It’s a zoo. Then I work lunch. I like working the drive-in window, and I’m passionate about having the fastest drive-thru in town. ... I love the opportunity to work closely with people and be a disciple-maker. I tell my employees: You may not be here for the rest of your life, but we will grow together, whether it be professionally or spiritually or in leadership and taking more responsibility.

Do you have brothers and sisters?

I am the third of six children — five boys and one girl. My father is a professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (in Texas).

Your sister’s probably tough. She doesn’t take any junk.

  Comments