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GROW Client Cindy’s Chicken Coop Serves Fried Chicken and Side of Kindness

Cindy's Chicken Coop

Food is Lucinda Waver’s love language.

“I love serving people and helping them enjoy food,” she said. “I love being in the kitchen. I love making people happy through food.”

Waver learned to cook from her mother, who passed away when Waver was 15-years-old. She stepped into the kitchen to help take care of the home in her mother’s absence, cooking for her father every day until he remarried. Her specialty? Fried chicken. “Everybody loves my fried chicken,” she said.

Today, Waver owns Cindy’s Chicken Coop (1936 Eastern Ave SE) with her husband. While her famous fried chicken is the star of the menu, they also serve a variety of fried fish, fried vegetables and sides. A quick look at online reviews makes it clear that it’s more than the food (called “delicious” and “perfection” by many) that keeps patrons coming back for more.

Customers describe Cindy, who is at the restaurant every day, as “a kind soul,” “attentive,” “wonderful,” “very sweet,” “filled with love.”

“My main ingredient is love,” she smiled. Waver describes owning the restaurant as the “happiest she has ever been.”

“I can serve people and I know the food is good, I take pride in it. I love to make people happy and serving people. It’s my passion. I have never been happier.”

When COVID-19 shut her doors for 8-weeks, she faced the very real possibility of closing down for good.

“We have never experienced anything like that,” she said. “I was worried about us and our customers. We didn’t really know what to do.” Then, GROW called. Waver had previously been involved with GROW but said she was unable to take advantage of all of the offerings due to the demands of running the restaurant.

“They reached out and started to talk to me about any help I needed due to coronavirus,” Waver described. “Marvin Martin (GROW business development officer) walked me through everything. I am so grateful. They helped me stand on my feet again.”

With a loan from GROW, she emerged from the shutdown with her finances intact, and the restaurant equipped to safely re-open to eagerly awaiting customers.

“I am not computer savvy, so I was worried I didn’t fill out the questions right and so on,” Waver said. “But GROW guided me through, and I was so excited when I received the funds. It took so much weight off of me.”

Waver has referred four other business owners to GROW for support.

“To know I could rely on GROW in my time of need felt so wonderful,” she expressed. “I want other people to benefit. We can get through this by helping each other.”

The financial support from GROW allowed Cindy’s Chicken Coop to partner with area churches to serve 263 meals to those in need. And, if a person in need walks into her restaurant, she says they will not leave hungry.

“It feels good to feed people with no strings attached,” she said. “It is awesome to be in the position to be able to do it.”

Click here to learn more about COVID-19 recovery loans available through GROW.