COVINGTON — Your Pie Pizza on the Covington Square reports the second-highest sales in the company. The Monroe location is number one, and the Snellville store comes in close, at sixth out of 66. What do these three stores have in common? Monroe native, Georgia Perimeter-Newton alumnus and Ole Miss graduate Ross Bradley is in charge.

“The one thing that drives me is to always be grateful and never be satisfied,” said Bradley as he introduced himself during a presentation to GSU students about his journey as a young business owner at the Georgia State-Newton Campus annual Daffodil Festival and Symposium.

“I didn’t know I was going to end up in the restaurant business,” said Bradley. “It was a leap of faith, a gut feeling and now what I love most is being a service to the people.”

Before pursuing his degree in business, Bradley had his first job working at Amici’s in Covington. After graduating college in 2013, he was recruited to come back and help manage Amici’s. By 2014, Bradley opened his first Your Pie in Snellville.

“I had to step outside my comfort zone,” explained Bradley.

Besides managing three restaurants across the region, Bradley also sits on the Monroe City Council, is father to two young daughters and also has something else “in the works.”

Bradley and his partner Andrew Williams are looking to open their own restaurant in downtown Monroe, Silver Queen.

The duo has been operating the eatery solely as a food truck but broke ground on a retail location about nine weeks ago.

“It is one of the scariest things I have ever done,” said Bradley. “I left the comfort of being part of a franchise to start my own, but so far, I’ve enjoyed the process and there are no regrets.”

Bradley advised the young entrepreneurs if they had any fear, to face it head-on. “You can’t let fear control you, in any sense,” said Bradley. “You are in charge of your future, and you decide what is best for you. School decisions, life decisions, everything.”

A student asked how he conceptualized Silver Queen.

“I thought it would be just like Your Pie, a casual counter service with a venue that could fit 80 people max,” said Bradley. “I come back to meet with Andrew and the architect, and I see nice, big blueprints that have seating for 120 people, a rooftop bar and outdoor seating; I said let’s do it.”

Bradley and Williams partnered with chef Wes Kent to help design a quality and unique menu.

“Tacos at Silver Queen and pizza at Your Pie, I’ll never have to leave Monroe again,” joked Bradley.

Bradley left the students with the thought that everything, especially the restaurant business, doesn’t have to be textbook. “Fortunately, I am a fly-by-the-seat-of-your pants guy, but it does go to show that there isn’t ever just one way of doing things,” said Bradley.

Check out Silver Queen Cantina on Instagram @eatsilverqueen or at the next Food Truck Friday in Monroe on April 5.

Learn more about the opportunities at GSU Newton Campus at www.perimeter.gsu.edu/about-perimeter-college/newton/

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Covington native and proud Valdosta State alumna, Hunter has previously worked with The Covington News and Valdosta Daily Times. She started working for Rockdale/Newton Citizen in June 2018.