Zaxby’s Sterling Coleman Talks About How It All Started

St. Louis Native Sterling Coleman, President/Owner of SJAC/Lady Di Food Groups, LLC dba Zaxby’s was born to a mother with an 11th-grade education. For most of his childhood life, he lived in the inner city projects with his three brothers. Although financially poor during that time, Sterling has been able to reflect on the intangibles that his Mom, who he recently lost, has passed onto him. Which are; the inspiration to work hard and the idea that he could achieve whatever he willed himself to. He is most proud of the fact that he was able to retire his Mom and make her life very comfortable before her transition. He even gave homage to her when he was awarded the rights to develop Zaxby’s in the Oklahoma City market.

A proud graduate of Tennessee State University, it was an internship during his college tenure that helped Coleman to apply the academic principles he learned while in school. Once he completed his degree he relocated to Atlanta with job offers, in the foodservice industry and consumer sales for Rudy Farms, a division of Sara Lee, Frito-Lay, RJ Reynolds and Prestone Antifreeze.

Through his work at Rudy Farms, he was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. With a real affinity for the food industry, Coleman knew he wanted more than just a job. One day, while out on appointments, he decided to stop for lunch at a Zaxby’s Chicken Fingers and Buffalo Wings. Immediately, he was compelled to learn more about the franchise, thinking it might fit his goal of becoming the entrepreneur he always dreamed of. His introduction to Zaxby’s seemed fated and so serendipitous, that Coleman felt, “it had to be God’s plan.” And in no time at all, Coleman was a Zaxby’s Licensee.

Through his family’s tradition of faith in God, personal sacrifice and humility, Coleman’s career as a Zaxby’s Licenses have been one of great success.

With a total of 36 locations in the making, 13 of which are currently open and operating, Coleman is proof that anyone can overcome any set of circumstances and still be successful. He believes in the power of mentoring and regularly imparts his wisdom onto his own children as well as other youth in and around the metro-Atlanta area.

Being named Who’s Who in Black Atlanta means the opportunity to continue living an example for the youth. For him, uplifting is a mantra. “Don’t settle into other’s definition of your capabilities. Be humble and open to God’s plans for you. Work hard and make sacrifices to get where you want to be in life. Start where you are. Education can be a pathway to success and you don’t know what is in store for you.” Remember that, unlike the old adage, the “Sky is the limit”; “The Sky actually has NO LIMIT”.



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