Jami Porter took a general manager job at the Culver’s of Middleton 18 years ago thinking she would save up some money while she applied to graduate schools.
She hasn’t worked outside the company since, and as of July 1, she and her husband Adam are now owners of a franchise in the national chain.
The Mazomanie residents began thinking about ownership two years ago, when Culver’s of Verona owner John Faber commented to Jami about whether she’d consider getting back to the “day-to-day” after she had moved into a more corporate role helping franchisees.
“I was like, ‘You’re nuts,’” she recalled with a laugh.
About a year later, the Porters began the process of buying the restaurant.
“I truly believe I found the right ownership with Jami and Adam,” Faber told the Press. “I loved what I did, and could’ve done it for a few more years. The timing just worked out really well.”
Since they took over July 1, the Porters have been back in that day-to-day grind, doing a little bit of everything around the restaurant – from scrubbing tables to working the register. Adam said they sometimes get funny looks when they’re at the register and someone sees “owner” on their nametag, but the couple credits the Culver’s culture for helping them adapt and learn how things are already done at this location.
“It doesn’t feel like it’s ours,” Jami said. “It just feels like we’re helping out right now.”
That same culture is focused on development, Jami said, and that’s something they want to emphasize to their leadership team and younger employees alike. Watching the latter grow up was one of the highlights of Faber’s time there, he said.
Jami said they want to emphasize that the restaurant business can be a career, and help employees understand the “whys” behind various decisions and how much research goes into taking a menu item off or adding something else for a season.
That internal emphasis is their focus right now, and they said they don’t expect customers to experience many changes from the Culver’s they’ve always known.
“We are so excited to get to know this community,” Jami said. “This is the opportunity of a lifetime for us. We’re very honored to carry out John’s legacy.”