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Why This Assistant Principal Decided to Open Tennessee’s First Salad Station Location

Dr. Shona McLaurin was attracted to the brand’s simplified business model, strong support infrastructure and innovative approach to healthy eating.

Salad Station, the gourmet by the pound salad franchise based in Hammond, Louisiana, is gearing up for significant franchise growth. As consumers increasingly look for healthy and locally sourced food options following the COVID-19 pandemic, Salad Station is catching the eye of savvy entrepreneurs who are looking to share those types of options with members of their community. Dr. Shona McLaurin, for example, recently signed on as a franchisee in Clarksville, Tennessee. As an assistant principal, McLaurin has deep ties to the community she lives in and recognized an ideal opportunity to introduce Salad Station to Tennessee for the first time.

“I graduated from William Kerry University with a bachelor’s in business,” said McLaurin. “After school, I worked in office management for a general contractor and worked there for about seven years. I went back to school to get an education certification and began teaching in 2006. In 2014, I graduated with my master’s in administration and became the student support coordinator for Kenwood Middle School. In 2019 I became the assistant principal at Kenwood High School in Clarksville and Montgomery County.”

McLaurin says her family had always dreamed of going into business together by owning a restaurant. In January 2021, McLaurin visited Mississippi to attend her aunt’s funeral. During her stay at a hotel in Hattiesburg, she visited a nearby Salad Station and immediately fell in love with the atmosphere. 

“I came back to Tennessee that weekend, and I couldn’t get it out of my mind,” said McLuarin. “I called the store I went to in Hattiesburg, and the franchisee answered all of my questions. They also put me in touch with the franchise coordinator.”

In March, McLaurin attended a discovery day to learn more about the Salad Station opportunity. “Walking into the corporate office, I immediately aligned with the scripture on their wall,” she said. “I spoke with my family and the corporate team, and everyone was all in.”

Salad Station was designed with a self-serve, pay-by-the-pound approach that benefits guests and reduces waste while also supporting franchise partners by translating to a low-cost labor model. Salad Station offers a lower cost of entry than most restaurant franchise opportunities, a streamlined and simple business model, and an attractive work-life balance. Additionally, Salad Station’s executive team members work diligently with franchisees to provide support and training, offering tools and resources to contribute to every location’s success.

“It is important to make sure the franchise you invest in is investing in you as well,” said McLaurin. “That way, you can be confident you will get a return on your investment. I spoke with other franchisees and heard about the support the franchise provides. A lot of franchises don’t provide the same level of support that Salad Station provides.”

With this proven business model and support infrastructure in place, Salad Station allows franchisees to ramp up quickly and build strong connections within their respective communities. Plus, with continued innovation and a forward-thinking approach to healthy eating, Salad Station gives owners a scalable opportunity to carve out a niche in the fast casual segment.

Overall, McLaurin says she is most excited about the financial freedom Salad Station can provide her and her family moving forward. “I am looking forward to working with my family in the restaurant,” she said. “At the end of the day, I want to leave a legacy for my children and something for them to build on for future generations.”

Salad Station Co-founder and President Scott Henderson says he is thrilled to welcome McLaurin to the team and looks forward to watching her grow with the brand. “Shona shares our community-oriented and family-driven values and will be the perfect partner to help us introduce the brand to Tennessee for the first time,” he said. “As she continues to grow her business, we are confident she will bring incredible value and success to the Clarksville community.”

The startup costs for a franchise with Salad Station range from $198,650 to $354,900. The franchise fee is $32,000. To learn more about franchising with Salad Station, visit