This Is How We Sonic
Fresh. Delicious. Chicken.
Our story started when ML Bagwell had a chance encounter in Greenwood, MS.
ML Bagwell was, at the time, delivering newspapers for a publisher out of Memphis, TN. One of his stops was a hotel located in Greenwood, MS, his hometown. ML overheard two businessmen discussing the local Sonic Drive-In and the problems they faced with the operations. ML, not being one to pass up a golden opportunity, walked right up to them and asked them to buy it. Naturally, the the two gentlemen turned down this stranger. As the story goes, this same encounter occurred a few more times before the businessmen relented and hired ML to operate the drive-in. The two men were none other than Chuck Harrison and Ralph Mason. Ralph Mason was one of the first Sonic franchisees and built a very successful real-estate empire over the course of his career. From that day forward, our family has been intertwined with one of the oldest, largest, and most successful franchisees in the country. See, ML was a family man through-and-through. His first managers were his son and son-in-laws. They went on to form BBWI, standing for Bagwell, Bagwell, Winstead, Irwin. Over time, BBWI transitioned to Southern Partners as ML's grandchildren entered to business to continue the legacy he and his children started. Over the years, BBWI and Southern Partners have grown to operate a total of 23 SONIC Drive-In locations in four states. In 2020, Southern Partners continued their franchise growth with development of Slim Chickens in the state of Mississippi.