There are only 18 people in Captain D’s Hall of Fame in the company’s 50-year history. Now, that number includes Robbie Copenhaver, who co-owns the Scottsboro and Fort Payne locations along with five other locations in Louisiana.
Copenhaver was honored at the company’s convention in San Antonio, Texas recently.
“It was shock to me,” he said. “This is the biggest honor I have ever had.”
Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, Captain D’s has 512 restaurants in 21 states, plus military bases around the world.
For Copenhaver, his start came in 1978, two years after his graduation from Scottsboro High School.
“I had moved to Tuscaloosa but wanted to get back to Scottsboro,” said Copenhaver.
He had a friend working at Captain D’s in Fort Payne. The friend convinced Copenhaver to come interview for a job.
“Me and my brother came up to interview,” said Copenhaver. “I got a job as a cook.”
Shortly after, he moved up to shift manager. After that, in January 1979, Copenhaver came home to Scottsboro as a co-manager.
“I stayed for about three years,” he said. “They were having some issues in Louisiana, and I wound up moving there to be manager at Ruston, Louisiana.”
Within a year, Copenhaver moved up to area director in Louisiana. In 1985, he returned to Alabama as area director over Scottsboro and Fort Payne.
In 2002, Copenhaver became a franchisee partner in Manchester, Tennessee with Ted Moats and Karl Haury, who both owned the Scottsboro and Fort Payne restaurants. A little later, he became partners with Haury in Bossier City, Louisiana.
“Ted wanted out, so I bought his interest in Scottsboro and Fort Payne and three locations in Louisiana,” said Copenhaver.
Today, he co-owns seven restaurants, something he never dreamed of in his younger days.
“I just had a knack for it,” said Copenhaver. “I love the people working here and meeting people. Every day is a new day.”
Copenhaver said the credit goes to Captain D’s employees.
“We’ve got the greatest employees,” he said. “If not for them, we wouldn’t be as successful as we are.”
Copenhaver said he also owed a lot to Haury.
“It’s all about the people,” he said. “That’s what makes Captain D’s, not me.”
He said his three area directors, Mike Grigsby, Angela Hamp and Newton Cannon, who oversees the Scottsboro and Fort Payne restaurants, have a combined 100 years of experience.
“We also have a lot of hourly employees who have been here 20-30 years,” he added.
Through his company, Copenhaver has always remained community-minded. He still remembers a story his father told him as a youngster.
“He told me how the Salvation Army would bring him and his family gifts at Christmas,” said Copenhaver.
That’s always stayed with him, he says. That story leads him in pouring his heart into Christmas Charities.
“Christmas Charities is my passion,” he said. “There is nothing better than bringing Christmas to kids.”
Captain D’s is also a sponsor in Casting-n-Catching, a fishing tournament that benefits the Children’s Hospital.
“It’s not just me,” said Copenhaver. “Our employees get involved to help people.”
The Hall of Fame honor doesn’t mean Copenhaver plans on slowing down any time soon.
“I’m not letting up,” he said. “I enjoy what I do. Until that goes away, I will be right here.”