Home Plate hits home run
OXFORD WEEKLY PLANET
Monday, June 5, 2023
Local restaurant announces regional franchising deal
Home Plate BBQ to open locations around the Southeast
In a joint press release, Franklin Enterprises of New Orleans, LA, and the Home Plate restaurant of Oxford announced a regional franchising deal to open Home Plate restaurants around the Southeast.
The first franchised eatery is expected to open in Birmingham, AL, in early 2024, with additional locations to follow in Atlanta, GA; Chattanooga, TN; Jackson, MS; Macon, GA; Memphis, TN; Nashville, TN; and New Orleans, LA by the end of 2025.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Vanessa Palmer of Franklin Enterprises said, "We believe this venture will be very rewarding, both for Home Plate and for our firm. A great deal of time and thought has already been invested in developing an agreement that will provide maximum benefit to all parties."
The franchising deal comes less than a month after the shocking murder of Home Plate co-owner Devlin Beauchamp of Oxford, who was found bludgeoned to death in his home on May 21. The surviving Home Plate founder, Carl Dixon, also of Oxford, finalized the terms of the agreement after Mr. Beauchamp's death.
In the press release, Dixon said, "Devlin's death was devastating for all of us at Home Plate. Carrying on with the deal he had been negotiating before his tragic death is our tribute to his memory. Now his name will be famous not only in Oxford but all around the Southeast, and maybe one day, all across the country."
Workers at Home Plate today were stunned by the news.
"I'm surprised, really surprised," said bartender Isabel Penner. "I always thought Devlin and Carl wanted to keep this a small, local business."
Both Carl Dixon and Franklin Enterprises have emphasized that no immediate changes are expected for the Home Plate operation in Oxford, but employees are less confident.
"I hope this doesn't mean we'll all lose our jobs," said head waitress Mickie Webster. "I've worked in a lot of restaurants over the years, and this kind of business deal usually means a big adjustment for the employees."
The restaurant's customers were equally shocked.
"This is just awful. I just can't believe Carl and them would do something like this before Devlin's even cold in the ground," lamented Home Plate regular Jeff Stokes. "We were all real fond of Devlin, and this is just a slap in the face to his memory."
Not all patrons were so impassioned, but several expressed concern that the expansion of Home Plate, coupled with the loss of Mr. Beauchamp, might affect the quality of the restaurant's menu.
"Me and my husband always like to bring our grandbabies here," said diner Velma Ruffin. "Devlin was always real obsessed with the food here, wanted everything to be just so. I hope all this won't change that because that's why we love Home Plate so much."