In the heart of Jacksonville, a brand-new restaurant has opened its doors. Church’s Chicken, a brand-new restaurant at 244 N. Marine Blvd., first welcomed customers on July 1. Three generations of Moores are involved in the business: Craig Moore, his dad Gene and mom Delores, and their older brother Ferondo Sr.
At 303 Bell Fork Road, the family opened the first Church’s restaurant in 2000. Since 1985, his parents have owned and run Moore’s Mini Mart, a convenience store, on the site. Before it became a Church, it was also a restaurant selling soul cuisine. The location has been shut down. Also, in Wilmington, at 4205 Market Street, they own Church’s Chicken. Moore added that becoming a franchisee has become more difficult since they launched their first franchise in 2000.
Moore estimated that the building’s completion took nearly a year. “Initially, our contractor estimated that the project would take 110 days to complete. Equipment delivery was delayed as a result of COVID, and the project ended up taking significantly longer than anticipated.”
Since its July 1 opening, the venue has been continuously busy. “Since we opened, the police have had to direct traffic,” he claimed. “The building’s parking lot was choked with vehicles. Only God exists, and that’s all there is to it.” Moore thanked the community for their support throughout the years, saying he wanted to express his gratitude. His grandfather owned a store in Maple Hill, he added. “It all started there,” he said. “They were there for him, and they’re there for us now.”
The same family owns it as Superior Realty LLC, which manages over 30 rental properties in eastern North Carolina. They opened their first Airbnb in September 2021 and were just recognized as a Superhost by the parent firm, an online platform for housing and leisure activities.
A “Superhost” designation means a lot to Craig Moore since this is his first Airbnb. A foster care supervisor working for the family company, Craig Moore met his wife Monique at Elizabeth City State University, where they earned their degrees. Maple Hill locals Gene and Delores Moore still reside in their hometown. He owns a business, and she is a retired teacher from Onslow County Schools. At the Wilmington restaurant, Ferondo Moore Sr. and Ferondo Jr. are in charge of day-to-day operations. The family employs approximately 70-75 people at the Jacksonville and Wilmington offices combined.
As a condition of their agreement, the franchisees must open a specific number of locations for the company. Currently, Moore says he’s looking to extend the family business into other markets. George W. Church Sr. created the first Church’s Chicken restaurant in San Antonio, Texas, in 1952, across the street from the Alamo, and it has since grown into a global brand. There are presently over 1700 outlets of this business worldwide—Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
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