Each week, It’s Time will highlight a community member for our #PeopleOfWilmDE series, told in THEIR own words. Our first feature is Larry Saunders, owner of The Pop Up: The Burger Joint at DE.CO in Downtown Wilmington AND executive chef at Constitution Yards on the Riverfront. Keep scrolling to read his story!
“I was born in Homestead, FL on the Homestead Air Force Base (now Homestead Air Reserve Base). My father was actually in the Navy, but they didn’t have a Navy base in Homestead, so he was stationed at the Air Force base. I ended up moving to Delaware, where I attended Skyline Middle School and John Dickinson High School. My first job was at Buffalo Wild Wings, where I started out on the grill. I eventually advanced within the company and became an employee trainer, and that’s where my career took off from when I was 18 years old.
Wilmington is a community that sticks together, whether you’re a small business owner, musician, or just a supporter/fan in general. It’s cool to see Wilmington becoming a place where you don’t see a town full of corporate franchise businesses. We’re starting to see small businesses and young independent entrepreneurs build a brand for themselves, so it’s helped me a lot by connecting with these different people and having everyone on the same frequency trying to grow together.
For instance, I had the chance to start The Burger Joint, a pop-up stall inside DE.CO, along with 7 other stalls. I always wanted to own my own restaurant or food truck so I thought that would be a great opportunity to rent a stall and execute my vision, build a menu, and fulfill a life-long dream. I run the stall alongside my sous chef and a few other employees underneath him.
I’m hoping the city can continue to grow and unite to give everyone a fair chance to succeed and achieve a great level of success. We share the community, so it doesn’t matter who it’s populated by — everyone should help each other.”
I believe you can achieve and manifest anything you put your mind to, no matter what you have been through. Yes, some of us may face challenges and may feel as though it doesn’t matter what amount of success you achieve, when you walk into any room, your past comes in with you, but let me tell you whatever is on paper doesn’t fully define who you are. Stay positive, make good choices, and surround yourself with good wholesome people, and the universe will reward you.”