Anchor Grill Receives Small Business Award
Wednesday, January 31, 2024
The Chamber is honored to present the January Small Business Award to Anchor Grill, owned and operated by Aaron Hill.
The entrepreneurial spirit is something that runs deep in Aaron’s family history. Aaron comes from a long line of hardworking, driven, resilient, and successful entrepreneurs. His great-grandparents helped bring the delicious flavor of Guadalajara, Mexico to our community many years ago. In 2015, Aaron Hill opened Anchor Grill in the food court at the Hutchinson Mall. In 2018, Anchor Grill was relocated to its current 30th Avenue location.
Early in life, Aaron knew that he did not want a normal 9-5 job; he wanted to build a legacy. Through self-drive and determination, Aaron raised enough funds of his own to help launch his first restaurant. Some of the funds used came from his close friends who had enough faith in Aaron to invest in him and his dream. Aaron was able to pay his friends back with interest.
When Anchor Grill opened, Aaron was able to hire 2 full time employees and 4 part time employees. Since then, Aaron has tripled the number of full-time and part-time employees.
Aaron started his career as a restaurateur as a single person and had aspirations of owning 100+ locations. Since then, Aaron got married and they have had three children. The change in family status hasn’t curbed his big goals, just changed them. Aaron now dreams of building a legacy for his children and future generations to come.
Like nearly every other business experienced, Covid was an operational challenge however, Anchor Grill was able to quickly leverage the need for consumers to have safe, contactless options for accessing meals. Thus, Aaron was able to leverage his business using services like Doordash and remained in operation for the entire duration of COVD. This kept his employees’ paychecks coming and helped support the needs of the community. During Covid, Aaron was working 70-80 hours per week to keep up with the demand.
It should go without saying that you won’t find a more satisfying chips supreme or a more perfectly flavored “garlicky-spicy- salty- tomato based salsa” anywhere, but Anchor Grill’s differentiator is in the quality, value, and service they provide daily.
As an employer, Aaron is generous with his staff and appreciates their loyalty by offering Roth IRA matches, 50% off at any time for meals, double time holiday pay for whomever volunteers, potential Christmas bonuses, a corporate health club membership for those who want to partake, and a very flexible schedule.
When asked about staff retention, Aaron said: “My employees are 100% vital to my operation. I have had my head cook since day 1. I make sure that she is respected and well compensated. I go above and beyond to make sure she is happy. I do this for my main and integral people. For me, I must realize who is there for the a few months, a few years, and those that would work for you long term. Great employees are hard to find. So, when I do find them, I do what I can to hold onto them. My core group has been together for 5 or 6 years. I have not lost a full-time employee in about 3 years.”
Besides being generous with his family and employees, Aaron is very generous with his community too! Aaron consistently supports local fundraisers for multiple churches, schools, golf tournaments, and youth sporting events. He makes a significant donation annually to help support Our Lady Guadalupe in the food court during the Kansas State Fair. Aaron is very proud to be a part of this community and is also proud to be a member of the Chamber.