BBWI Investments & Southern Partners (our business entities) are independent divisions of Mason, Harrision, Ratliff Enterprises (MHR). Our business and partnership with MHR began some 30 years ago when the late M.L. Bagwell acquired an ownership interest in the Sonic Drive-In located in Greenwood, MS.
M.L. met Chuck Harrison of MHR at a local hotel in Greenwood, MS while running his newspaper route for the Commercial Appeal, a Memphis newspaper. Chuck was in town on business, checking on the local Sonic Drive-In. M.L. expressed an interest in purchasing the business interest and property that was the Sonic Drive-In after learning from Chuck that the business wasn’t meeting ends. Initially, Chuck was resistant to M.L. attempting to purchase the business as running newspapers has very little in common with operating a foodservice business. After several passes, Chuck agreed to bring M.L. in as a business partner. The agreement was simple – M.L. turns the business around and MHR would sell him a significant interest. Although Chuck and his partners had their doubts, M.L. was quite successful.
Since that day, our company has built drive-ins in new locations as well as acquired existing drive-in locations. M.L. brought his family along for the ride, everyone pitching in to help. Ricky, his son, began his career in Sonic at a young age flipping burgers in the Indianola, MS location. Bubba, M.L.’s son-in-law, came to the Sonic world from the local Jitney Jungle grocery store in Greenwood, MS as the operator of the Greenwood, MS drive-in. Joey, M.L.’s son-in-law, began his career operating the drive-in in Winona, MS.
Throughout the years, God has blessed our family and business has continued to grow, even in spite of economic downturns in 2009. Our network of drive-in managers and supervising partners are all members of our extended “Sonic” family. Even our youngest generation has entered the family business with David Bagwell, Brooks Irwin, and Ray Winstead all operating or supervising drive-ins today.
We, along with our partners, believe in the power of God and that He has a hand in all things we do. As such, we feel that God is to be praised for our business success each and every day. We proudly print scriptures acclaiming the power of the one, true God on our locations receipts.