Rolling into Flavor Town: Local Entrepreneur Unveils Delectable Delights at New Roly Poly Sandwich Shop!Feb 03, 2024 11:00AM ● By Lauren Pope
Edward Hayes and his daughter, Jayla
Entrepreneurship is often a matter of putting yourself in the right place at the right time. Edward Hayes, owner of the Roly Poly franchise that just opened at The Depot in downtown Zachary, knows that better than anyone. A business lead in another industry tipped him off to a potential franchise opportunity in Baton Rouge. Hayes immediately went to check it out in person and made a shocking discovery.
The Roly Poly located just off the LSU campus wasn't just for sale, it was seemingly abandoned. Many people would have just walked away, but instead, he made a phone call. He called the Roly Poly franchise office to get more details. They weren't aware that it had been abandoned and they gave Hayes the deal of a lifetime to get the shop back up and running.
That was in 2016. Since then, he's found further success with a Roly Poly food truck that opened on the LSU campus and in 202 opened a downtown Baton Rouge location. Hayes lives in Ethel and had often considered doing something big here in Zachary, but wasn't sure exactly where in town would make the most sense for his next franchise.
That all changed when he spoke with our very own Mike Gennaro who put him in contact with David Gaines. You might remember Gaines from the profile we did on him in our magazine last year. If not, you just need to know that he's a man with big vision for Zachary and a big knack for connecting the right people to the right spaces. Roly Poly and Edward Hayes were the perfect fit.
If you've been out to Roly Poly in Zachary, you'll immediately realize that it's not just a sandwich stand. The food is, of course, fabulous. What really sets it apart though is that it was made with families in mind. There are tons of fun activities for the kids to do while they're waiting for their food or when mom and dad are eating. It's not just a restaurant, it's a community hub.
Right now, the inside of the building is not being fully utilized. Gaines and Hayes have batted around a lot of different ideas, and we've even written about some of them in our city council meeting update. Hayes says that he thinks that a good use for the space would be an arcade which would give the young (and not so young!) people of Zachary a place to hang out. Meanwhile, he's been making the most of the outdoor space. There's abundant seating including an upstairs porch. There's also a ping pong table, corn hole, a connect 4 thing and, of course, the giant checkers board.
Hayes says that building a business isn't something that should intimidate people. "It's not like you're performing surgery. You just need to be able to learn from all of the information that's freely out there. Watch some Youtube. Talk to mentors. It's very doable." He's living proof of it. He also knows that community perception is huge and he is quick to say that he wants to hear from his customers, good and bad. "Listening to people is how we know we're getting it right, or if there's something we need to do to get it back to being right," he says.
Right now, he's doing it right. The food is great. The atmosphere is unmatched. Come summer? This place is going to be your new family favorite. Not bad for something that started with a simple phone call to the right people at the right time.