Eatery Owners Earn Silver Alabama Retailer of the Year Title

BIRMINGHAM – The Alabama Retail Association, in cooperation with the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business, today recognized outstanding Alabama retailers representing 13 retail businesses with operations in 51 Alabama cities and 30 other states as Retailers of the Year. This year’s winners came from a pool of almost 70 nominees. The presentations were made during the 2015 Alabama Retail Day Luncheon in Birmingham. Stu Crum, president of Bridgestone Retail Operations, made the keynote address. This marked the 16th presentation of the Retailer of the Year Awards since 1999.


Todd and Sonya Jackson, owners of CKJ Eateries LLC, earned the Silver Alabama Retailer of the Year Award in the Annual Sales $5 Million to $20 Million category. The college sweethearts with degrees in restaurant and hotel management founded CKJ Eateries in 2007, Alabama Retail 2015, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. (Photo/Hal Yeager)and their Hoover-based company now operates six Birmingham area Newk’s Eatery locations: downtown Birmingham, Inverness, Hoover, Mountain Brook, Vestavia Hills and St. Vincent’s Hospital’s Bruno Cancer Center. The Retailer of the Year judges praised CKJ Eateries for their immense growth over the past year, citing their efforts to increase online ordering as well as the opening of their Inverness and Hoover locations. The company has also improved their group catering offerings, now able to feed an impressive 4,500 people during one event.

The Jacksons pioneered the first of its kind ‘grab-n-go’ style kiosk in St. Vincent’s Hospital’s new Bruno Cancer Center. This kiosk is the first non-traditional site in the entire Newk’s system. It services both patients and employees on the St. Vincent’s campus Monday through Friday.

KNewksLogoaren Odle, president of the Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce, nominated the Jacksons for the award. “Newks Eatery has been an incredible addition to our community. They strongly believe in giving back to the community as they understand the importance of service,” Odle said. In the nomination, Odle highlighted Newk’s partnership with several area schools, civic organizations, and charities. “Because of their dedication and support of Vestavia Hills, they were selected as the Vestavia Hills Business of the Year – Retail for 2014,” Odle added.

Todd and Sonya Jackson said, “We are in the restaurant business because we love food… And, most of all, we love to see the smiles on our guests’ faces when they taste our food for the first time and experience our difference. We are in the business of food. But, truly, it is a labor of love.” 

The Jacksons “put huge importance on community involvement and sponsorships with community partners.” They are a platinum-level sponsor of the Susan G. Komen North Central Alabama affiliate. Their franchise turns the iconic black Newk’s cups pink during the months of September and October. They also recently sent a little boy and his entire family to Disney World, in partnership with the “Make-A-Wish Foundation.”

Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown said, “Todd and Sonya Jackson are retailers of the year EVERY year to their customers, more than 200 employees and the six Birmingham-area communities where its restaurants are located.”

>> Full list of this year’s Retailers of the Year

>> Previous Retailers of the Year

Media Contact: John C. Reichle, CKJ Eateries LLC | 205.919.9944

Media Contact: Melissa Warnke | 334.551.0631 (d) | 800.239.5423