I’ve grown up in a household with five siblings—all different in our own way, but one constant that keeps us moving and shaking is the love and ambition from our parents, Richard Jr. and Elizabeth Nix. I think we’ve all been able to truly find our way and grow into our unique personalities because of their guidance in our life. And in honor of Father’s Day, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the specific reasons I love my dad.
Richard Nix Jr. (second from left) is the current President of Butler's Pantry Catering. Here he is show with his family, including daughter Lulu. Photo courtesy Lulu Nix.
First, I’d like to take a walk down memory lane. Now, at 22, it’s interesting to recall memories of my childhood, but with a different understanding. Simple memories, like how every morning before school, my dad would sit across from my sister Grace and me, dressed in his suit and tie. He’d then put on his black socks and loafers and remind us to finish our orange juice before heading out the door for work at the family business, Butler’s Pantry. Previously run by my grandpa, Richard Nix, Sr., my dad was given the opportunity to take over the business at the young age of 28. As crazy as this sounds to me, what’s even crazier is that I never felt like my dad wasn’t there. Even with the pressure of running a business, my dad was very much present and always put family first.
Outside of memories at home, I remember several occasions where my dad’s family life and work life collided, making for an extra meaningful celebration. Such as the time I had my 8th birthday at Butler’s Pantry and got to invite all my friends to the kitchen to learn how to make pizza and also made a chocolate chip cookie into the shape of my name. This was a unique experience, and I’ll never forget how special everyone made me feel. The culinary team wore pink feather boas and took great interest in interacting with my group of friends to ensure everyone had a good time. Another story that comes to mind is when one of our chefs visited my school classroom to teach us about the different cuisines found in a country we were learning about. Thinking about these moments has made me realize, the Butler’s Pantry team has not only watched me grow up, but they’ve been a part of my education and my family’s most important celebrations.
For her eighth birthday, Lulu Nix headed into the Butler's Pantry kitchen where she made a cookie version of her name. Photo courtesy Lulu Nix.
When I was old enough, my dad gave me an opportunity to serve as a hostess at one of the restaurants within the family business to start learning the ropes of hospitality. His first job within the business was making deliveries. Both of these roles rely heavily on having a strong work ethic. I am grateful for the solid foundation my first job has instilled in me. This is where I learned how to maintain a calm and welcoming presence during times of high volume, the importance of keeping things tidy, and how to work collaboratively as part of a team.
As I continue to grow in my professional skills, I know I’ll make mistakes along the way, but because of my dad, I also know I can learn from them. This kind of empathy is how he has led his business over the years and why he has an amazing team of people working alongside him at Butler’s Pantry.
This summer, I’ve started working within the marketing department and have seen first-hand the influence of this kind of leadership. Through his everyday interactions with colleagues, friends, business partners and community causes, I’ve noticed how well he is respected. I think his kindness is a key motivator for everyone to work together to provide the quality service and exceptional experience my grandpa worked hard to create 55 years ago.
As I continue to explore my future career options, I hope that whatever path I take reveals a reflection of my dad’s most admirable characteristics—finding the good in others and accepting them for who they are, applying creativity and vision, and being dedicated. Never give up, keep evolving.
To Dad, I want to thank you for always cheering me on, supporting my ideas and decisions, and for always encouraging me to be a better person in every situation.
Richard Nix Jr is the President of Butler's Pantry Catering, www.butlerspantry.com/