Creating a Sense of Community in Northeast Tennessee & Southwest Virginia

Steve LaHair

Owner, Chef’s Pizzeria

Stephen LaHair started folding pizza boxes at the local pizzeria when he was thirteen years old. When he moved to the Tri-Cities area he was given the opportunity to work for Dennis and Bobbie Phillips and the rest, they say, is history. Having lived in the area, with his wife Trida, since 1993; LaHair has seen a lot of changes, both good and bad, but he wouldn’t dream of calling anywhere else home. “We are very fortunate to have citizens that love and care about their community and fellow citizens. Everyone goes out of his/her way to make others feel welcomed and it makes where we live such a beautiful part of the country.” LaHair has a “no quit” attitude about a great many things in life and supporting his community is one of them. “In life we are all presented with opportunities and challenges, but it is what we do when presented with those challenges that makes the difference between succeeding and failing.” This worldview is one that he passes on to the youngsters who come and work for him at Chef ’s Pizzeria.

“I love being able to make a difference in young people’s lives. Often, we are the first place that many young adults work so we have an opportunity to teach them about work ethic, leadership skills, and community.” Putting smiles on customer’s faces with the food they serve is a perk that comes along with the job and one that LaHair has not tired of in all these years. “Both my wife and I come from very humble beginnings and we have been blessed beyond imagination through our business. We value our customers and recognize they could choose to eat anywhere, but because they choose us; we feel it is important to give back.” Giving back is integral to any business that wants to feel a part of a community and it is something that the LaHair’s feel will only improve the Tri-Cities area. “We hope to continue to grow and work together with other businesses to develop the Tri-Cities into a regional powerhouse. We are very fortunate to have Fortune 100 companies locate here that attract some of the brightest young people from all over the world, but they also help us retain our local talent.” At the end of the day, though, Stephen LaHair is a father first and a business owner second. When asked about his kids, he smiles and says, “I want my children to be proud of their father. I want them to see that working hard at whatever you choose to do is what will make you happy.” LaHair knows he has done his absolute best at everything and that, in the end, is what fulfills him most.

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