A foundation of food + family—what working at Ashley Mac’s is like

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Erick Cox photographed outside of the Ashley Mac’s Cahaba Heights location. Photo via Hannah Chambley for Bham Now

What started as a catering business in Ashley McMakin’s Homewood apartment more than a decade ago is now a beloved Birmingham business. With five Birmingham locations and 71 employees, Ashley Mac’s is still growing and it’s no surprise why.

Ashley Mac’s—A business built on food + family

Ashley Mac’s was built on Ashley’s love of food and serving others, and after 15 years, that remains the same. But it’s not just the food that sets Ashley Mac’s apart—it’s the people working there who make it special.

Chawanna (Wanna) Conner was Ashley Mac’s first employee, and she’s still an integral part of the business. She’s a great example of what working at Ashley Mac’s is like. Whether you’ve worked there for 10 years or 10 days, you’re treated like family.

If I had to describe my 14 years at Ashley Mac’s in one word? FUN! Seeing the growth from Day 1 to where we are now, it’s AMAZING! It was a long ride but, we (Ashley and I) took the scenic route!

Wanna Conner

Based on grace, the environment at Ashley Mac’s is one for growth—professionally and personally.

Erick Cox photographed outside of the Ashley Mac’s Cahaba Heights location. Photo via Hannah Chambley for Bham Now

Erick Cox, joined the Ashley Mac’s team in April of 2015 coming from Changed Lives Christian Center, “a Christ-centered ministry that offers transitional housing for men trying to break the cycle of homelessness.”

He now works full time at the Cahaba Heights location. One thing that stands out to him is the grace-based environment at Ashley Mac’s. When asked what it means to him, he explained it’s all about second chances and creating opportunities for those in need.

“Giving them (men from the recovery center) a second chance to get them back on their feet and work in the store. She’s hired a lot of the guys over the years, maybe 25 or more, and it helps out. On top of that, Ashley Mac’s provides a catered dinner once every two months for the guys. They appreciate that.”

Erick Cox

For Molly Morrow, Ashley Mac’s VP of Customer Experience, the grace-based environment not only helps the business thrive, but it meets employees where they’re at, setting them up for success, no matter where they came from.

“When I think about the grace-based environment that Andy and Ashley have cultivated here, I think about the forgiving, seamless, equality and teaching atmosphere that I’ve personally experienced. People aren’t defined by their past mistakes and are given the opportunity to thrive in a work environment that allows them to.”

Molly Morrow

Molly got her start at Ashley Mac’s with the Front of House team in 2015. With 15 years of experience as a graphic designer, Ashley and her team recognized Molly’s potential.

Molly Morrow photographed outside of the Ashley Mac’s Cahaba Heights location. Photo via Hannah Chambley for Bham Now

For a few years, she remained on retainer as their graphic designer, then in May of 2019, Molly joined the executive team as their full-time marketing director. Recently, after helping the company navigate the pandemic, she was promoted to VP of Customer Experience.

“Looking back to 2015, I would never have imagined that I would be in this position today. Working on this team is definitely like a family… we balance each other out with our skill sets and personalities. We are there for each other on good days and bad days through love and loss. I believe this is because of the environment that Ashley set up from the beginning when it was just her and Wanna working in her Homewood apartment.

As the business grew, she’s been able to maintain a close family-like atmosphere at each of our locations, the kitchen and the bakery. When one of our locations needs assistance, you can find any of one of our executive team members out in the field either washing dishes, working with customers or making salads. We work together and we work together well.”

Molly Morrow

If you’re looking for a job right now, Ashley Mac’s might be the perfect fit. Here’s how to apply:

The application process is super easy. Just head to their site, fill out this form and make sure to put “Bham Now” in the referral field. They’ll get back to you if a position is available.

Support a local business + get a delicious meal

Ashley Mac’s is always serving up something good. Photo via Hannah Chambley for Bham Now

Now, more than ever, it’s so important to support the local businesses that help make Birmingham great. Whether you’re planning meals for the week or need a quick bite for lunch, consider stopping by one of the five Ashley Mac’s locations in Birmingham and grabbing something yummy.

You can order eats from their cafe menu, but they also offer Gourmet-To-Go frozen meal options that you can take, bake and enjoy at home. And if you’re back in the office, check out their catering menu. Right now, they are offfering boxed lunches and meals to accommodate the current restrictions in place. 

One of the easiest ways to support Ashley Mac’s is simply by telling friends or family about their restaurants. Bring a slice of their cake to a co-worker or grab a Gourmet-To-Go casserole or family meal for a loved one—word of mouth (and yummy food to back it up) goes a long way. 

Also, if you grab something good, snap a picture and tag them on social, or leave an online review of your experience. It means more to them than you know!

Visit one of their five locations around Birmingham:

  • Cahaba Heights | 3147 Green Valley Road, Cahaba Heights, AL 35243
  • Downtown at the Pizitz | 1821 2nd Avenue North Unit 170, Birmingham, AL 35203
  • Homewood | 1831 28th Ave South, Suite N101, Homewood, AL 35209
  • Inverness | 5299 Valleydale Road, Hoover, AL 35242
  • Riverchase | 4730 Chace Circle, Hoover, AL 35244

Beginning 10/5, the hours at the Homewood and Cahaba Heights locations will be extended to Monday through Friday from 10:30AM-6:30PM M-F and Saturday from 10:30AM-3PM.

The Inverness and Riverchase locations are open from 10:30AM-3PM Monday through Saturday, and their newest location at The Pizitz Food Hall is open Monday through Friday from 10:30AM-3PM. 

Follow them on social at @AshleyMacs on Instagram and @AshleyMacsBirmingham on Facebook for updates on seasonal specials, open positions + more.

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  • Most likely Instagrammin’ the Birmingham skyline, behind the camera shooting photos or writing stories (with too many puns) for Bham Now.