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Former NFL player is right at home as a Charlotte entrepreneur
Marcus Burley opens Saladworks in Ballantyne
Published Sunday, October 18, 2020 9:00 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

Marcus Burley transitioned from football to food.

The former NFL player retired to Charlotte, turning his focus toward life as an entrepreneur. His most recent venture is opening a Saladworks, a fast-casual, entrée salad franchise on Sept. 9 in Ballantyne at 11318 N. Community House Road, as one of the brand’s 30 planned restaurants for the remainder of 2020.

“While I was playing football in the NFL, I would always wonder [about] and think of things that I would want to do after football,” Burley said. “I always knew I wanted to get into real estate, and I wanted to get into franchising.”

While the pandemic pushed back the opening a couple of months, the location was already in the works for 2020.

“It’s a very testing time right now, but I feel like it will pass, and things will get back to normal, or as close to normal as it can,” Burley said. “We just have to weather the storm and make it through.”

Burley was introduced to Saladworks in college at the University of Delaware, which had a franchise on campus. It offers over 60 ingredients for guests to create their own salad or pick one off the 12-item menu as well as wraps, grain bowls and soups for lunch dinner. Customers may order online, delivery is available through Uber Eats, GrubHub and Door Dash.

“I’ve been familiar with the brand for over 10 years,” Burley said. “It was very popular on campus. A lot of people liked the product. I thought the Charlotte market would be a perfect market to bring it to.”

Burley was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent in 2013. He would go on to play for Seattle, Cleveland and Houston but decided on Charlotte after the Seahawks played the Carolina Panthers here in 2014.

“Before the game, I walked around the city with my agent, and realized how beautiful of a city Charlotte was,” Burley said. “I’m originally from Richmond, Virginia, so I’m not too far away from family. I felt like Charlotte was a great city to settle down and buy a house and grow.”

Burley has called Charlotte home for five years, originally starting out in South End before buying a house in Waxhaw four years ago. He took a year after football to determine his next steps.

“The transition has been pretty easy for me,” Burley said. “I work out every day to stay in shape. That’s kind of how I scratch my itch for the game—always stay active and sweat every day. I watch football every Sunday—college football every Saturday. I’m always watching the game, and staying in-tune with the game.”
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