Thirty years. 30!

3-0.

That’s 360 months. Over 1,500 weeks. Just about 11,000 days. You get the picture. It’s a long time.

Earlier this month, we threw a surprise anniversary party at our HQ celebrating 30 years’ worth of loyalty and contributions by one of our longest-tenured members of the Original Philly team: Mark Freeman.

Even in an established, family-run business, it’s not every day you get to recognize someone for that kind of longevity. It takes a special kind of individual to remain with one organization for that amount of time—devoted, productive, determined, flexible, tireless, positive. Mark Freeman is all that, and more.

Mark has seen Original Philly grow from a small, mom-and-pop-type of business to an innovative, worldwide, Philly steak market leader, recently becoming part of Tyson Foods. He’s also seen the company welcome hundreds of “new” team members since he first joined our ranks—many of them every bit as valuable as he’s been to our operation. But on this momentous occasion, we were excited to bring everyone together to honor a man—a colleague and friend—who has dedicated a huge chunk of his life to helping Original Philly succeed and grow.

We took the opportunity to ask Mark to reflect on his time with Original Philly Cheesesteak Co. After some cake, naturally…

 


 

OP: What’s your earliest memory at Original Philly?
MF: I couldn’t find the building! On my first day, I walked past it like four times. I asked a lady. It was an old garage. I could barely see the sign. I rang the bell and a short, old man came out (lol). It was Mr. George (Original Philly co-founder George Kontodemos).

OP: What was your first job here?
MF: Packing meat in trays, molding.

OP: Biggest technology change at OP in the last 30 years?
MF: When we got the punch-in time cards. Let’s just say it was CRAZY!

OP: Most memorable colleague?
MF: Mr. George, that’s my buddy.

OP: Best Philly sports moment since you started?
MF: When the Phillies won the World Series, they closed the city down. We still had work though. Mr. Nick (Original Philly co-founder Nick Karamatsoukas) and Mr. George were like, “we still have to work!” Lol.

OP: If you didn’t join Original Philly, what might you be doing?
MF: Still in the restaurant business. I used to be a cook’s apprentice for seven years before I came here.

OP: What is your favorite thing about Original Philly?
MF: Coming to work every day. I am blessed to come to work every day.

 


 

And we’re blessed to have you. Cheers, Mark. Here’s to the next 30!