Shaun Hill has always been focused on contributing to his local community.
A graduate of Eastern Kentucky University, Hill moved to Louisville after college with friends to capitalize on the mortgage boom of the early 2000s. He found success in the industry, but after nearly 7 years in banking, Hill was ready to return to his roots in Bardstown, Kentucky.
Ready to be his own boss, Hill began researching business opportunities that he could bring home. He set his sights on a developing a concept similar to those he experienced in Louisville. He turned his attention toward sports-themed and casual dining restaurants because he recognized there would be no local competition.
Through diligent research, he discovered Buffalo Wings & Rings
, a restaurant franchise based in near-by Cincinnati. After visiting with the corporate team, Hill recognized the brand offered everything he needed to succeed.
“The food was high quality, served on nice dishes—unlike other sports establishments,” he said. “It just had a nicer feel than what you’d expect.”
Formerly a dry town, Buffalo Wings & Rings
would also present an opportunity to provide customers with something unseen in town—a real bar. At the time, many of the restaurants created makeshift bars in an attempt to appeal to customers looking for a cocktail.
Hill opened in March 2009 and experienced near immediate success. Sales increased 10 percent year-over-year, he said, and he eventually purchased the building and the land on which it was located. Now, Hill is preparing to open his second location in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.
“The fast-casual dining experience is a growing segment. It’s not fast-food, its quality food in a great atmosphere where families can bring their kids to watch sports,” he said. “It’s the best of all worlds.”
Hill credits the support he has received from community members and Buffalo Wings & Rings on day one for his success.
“I’ve been fortunate to surround myself with great people who want to see the business succeed,” he said. “The corporate team has been there every step of the way, too. They’re there for me and willing to help when necessary.”
As Hill looks to build on his success, he is dedicated to providing opportunities for those in his community. Not only is he involved in the Bardstown Chamber of Commerce and fundraising initiatives, he also hires only local contractors for any work done on his establishments.
“It’s important to me that everyone I hire is local—they’re the ones who have helped me grow the business from the ground up,” Hill said. “They helped build the foundation, install the lighting and the plumbing. This all has a chain reaction that gives people a sense of togetherness—you can’t put a price on that.”