New State of the Art Mary Brown’s Chicken for Thunder Bay!
by Scott A. Sumner
A local family is excited to bring a new restaurant to Thunder Bay and area. Harbinder Singh Hayer and his family including their parentsare helping their nephew Jagnoor Singh Hayer, age 25, bring Mary Brown’s Chicken to Thunder Bay after a 35 year absence. Jagnoor graduated from Lakehead University in computer science a few years ago.
“ Our family are small business owners. Jagnoor studied franchises for a few years and came up with Mary Brown’s Chicken because it is all fresh. The chicken is in house cut, in house marinated, in house breaded and in house cooked - it is not a frozen chicken. It is the same with the potatoes called taters which are fresh potatoes from Manitoba farms and are rinsed, cut in house and served fresh in house. Coleslaw is made in house- we shred the carrots and cabbage and make it in house.” said Hayer.
The Singh families relocated to Thunder Bay from Southern Ontario in 2010 and started convenience stores in town. They are still active in that business for the past 13 years.
“ Our kids started their schooling here in Thunder Bay. Jagnoor got his education from Churchill High School and Lakehead University. He got inspired to go into small business himself after seeing and working in our family convenience stores. Being your own boss was his goal so he studied brands and franchises and is well connected to the local community to allow him to get feed back from people,” noted Hayer. “ Together as a family we are helping this young entrepreneur to settle in town and start a business in Thunder Bay. The Mary Brown’s Chicken location, which is 2400 square feet in size, already has 30 employees and is locally owned and operated.”
The family came from big cities to Thunder Bay to have more family time together. Everything is very accessible and there are many activities like swimming, hockey and skiing for the kids.The living cost is lower as well noted Hayer.
“ We opened Mary Brown’s Chicken on June 27, 2023 and it was really overwhelming, a great response and we are still doing well. This store is state of the art and the only store with this new pattern across Canada and beyond including Ireland, Pakistan and Mexico who have have bought master franchises people here to see it. People have also come from Newfoundland to British Columbia and even Scotland to have a look and see our new store and the technology we use including pressure cookers and not deep fryers,” said Hayer.
The new Mary Brown’s Chicken layout used in Thunder Bay can replace two restaurants at the same time. It offers a double line so there is all equipment times two so they can serve dining and take out separately at the same time.When it is busy they open both lines and if slower can manage with one. The busiest time is supper times on Fridays and the weekends. The maximum time after the chicken has been cooked and if not sold is two hours or it is thrown out.
“ We want to give back to the community as a company and are a proud partner with the Boys and Girls Club of Thunder Bay. Also we are a sponsor of the Thunder Bay North Stars and the Kam River Walleyes hockey teams. We want to give back to the community.” noted Hayer.
It took almost a year and half to build the restaurant right from scratch and provided direct and in direct employment for Thunder Bay. When it was built many sub trades and suppliers were utilized according to Hayer.
Mary Brown’s will do catering and are also ready for Christmas time for small gatherings at the workplace or at home. They can have a feast ready for a group and deliver or cater as well.
“ Jagnoor has a plan to open another Mary Brown’s Chicken on the north side of Thunder Bay to cover that area.The second location is already approved by Mary Brown’s and we are just looking for the right spot. If anyone has some location ideas for us let us know. ” said Hayer.