Auburn Franchise Operation Grows From One to Twenty-Five Locations

Auburn Franchise Operation Grows From One to Twenty-Five Locations

What began as a small business in an old converted duplex more than 35 years ago has since become a regular contender in the fast-casual franchise market within the Southeast. Momma Goldberg’s Deli has grown from a location of one to 25. The newest store opened July 1 in Panama City, Fla.

“We are pleased to continue our expansion in the Florida Panhandle,” said Keith Schilleci, president of Momma G’s Inc., the franchising arm of Momma Goldberg’s Deli. “We consider the South home and after initial growth across Alabama and Georgia, Florida was the next step in that natural progression.”

The first store in Florida opened near the FSU campus in Tallahassee a little more than a year ago. After Panama City, Ft. Walton will be the third location in the Sunshine State set to open later this year. Florida isn’t the only state getting love from Momma Goldberg’s.

Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina can all be added to the “Love list.”

“What continues to amaze me is the potential for growth within the areas we are already near,” Schilleci said. “Saraland, a fast-growing community near Mobile, is home to one of our newest groups of franchisees and will be one of the next cities in Alabama to see the opening of a Momma Goldberg’s.

“We are also working with franchisees to secure locations in Atlanta and Charleston, SC, as well as finding additional stores in Mobile and Montgomery,” he said.

Fans of the brand are no strangers to the man behind Momma’s and his commitment to providing a high-quality deli product in a laid-back atmosphere. Don DeMent opened the doors to Momma Goldberg’s Deli on the corner of Magnolia Avenue and Donahue Drive in 1976.

“I had been in the men’s clothing business for awhile when I decided it was time for a change. I felt there was a need for dining options in the area other than country cooking or burgers and fries,” DeMent said. “After months of research and planning, I decided to open a deli featuring premium meats and cheeses on fresh bread, steamed to perfection.”

Those staple ingredients are still used and showcased today on all Momma’s signature and specialty items. It’s that winning combination and long history that has created a faithful following.

“Building on a 35-plus year history is rewarding,” Schilleci said. “Many of our franchisees and loyal customers have a connection to the original Auburn location. It is fun to see generations of families introducing their children or parents to the same Momma’s Love and Momma’s Nachos that they enjoyed eating as college students.”

Word of mouth has always been a powerful advertiser for DeMent, whose business model is built around the Golden Rule.

“If you treat people—and I mean customers, employees, vendors and competitors—with the same respect and honesty that you would want, you will succeed,” DeMent said.

This principle has served him well. Momma Goldberg’s Deli still enjoys the notoriety it has received from students voting the Momma’s Love best deli sandwich in Auburn to Sports Illustrated listing eating a Momma’s Love as one of the “102 Things to do Before you Graduate” to Alabama’s Department of Tourism listing the famous sandwich as one of “101 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die.”

The Birmingham and Tuscaloosa locations have also been recognized as top spots to dine, proving Momma’s menu with signature sandwiches, fresh salads and hot soups appeals to a variety of customers.

“We have been very fortunate in growing our business. We have the pleasure of working with an outstanding group of franchisees, who all work hard to help build the Momma Goldberg’s brand by consistently providing a high-quality product in a relaxing environment,” DeMent said.

For more information about Momma Goldberg’s Deli or a franchise, please call 334.466.2007 or e-mail

Contact: Keith Schilleci, President, 205.907.2256,
Contact: Katie Crew, Franchise Coordinator, 334.466.2007,