Industry News | July 26, 2011

KFC Wants Your Memories of Colonel Sanders

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KFC wants you … and your Colonel Sanders stories. Thirty years after Colonel Harland Sanders left his legacy as the iconic founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, the brand is reinvesting in his image and memory via a website designed to reach a new generation.

To keep Sanders’ legacy alive, KFC today launched www.ColonelSanders.com, an online destination designed to collect photos, videos, and stories about Colonel Sanders from family members, friends, and everyday Americans who either met or knew of the American icon.

“Colonel Sanders, his secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices, and all he achieved are the cornerstones of our company,” says Barry Westrum, chief marketing officer for KFC. “We’re honored to launch this project to preserve the memory of our founder by collecting stories from folks far and wide.”

Based on the submissions the website collects, KFC may compile and release the stories at a later date.

Along with being an iconic American entrepreneur, Colonel Sanders was also a Southern gentlemen, says Shirley Topmiller, who served as the Colonel’s assistant and worked at KFC for 28 years before her retirement.

“We know there are countless stories out there about the Colonel,” says Topmiller, who as Sanders’ assistant handled everything from scheduling his television appearances to ordering his famed white suits.

Now, Topmiller is helping to lead the campaign to preserve the legacy of her former boss.

“If you knew the Colonel, met him during all of his travels, saw him on television, or just heard a story or two from a friend of a friend, we’d love to hear from you,” Topmiller says. “We want to preserve all of these great memories before they’re gone forever.”

Colonel Sanders Remembered

At the age of 65, Harland Sanders turned a $105 Social Security check into a global chicken empire, and until his death at the age of 90, traveled 250,000 miles a year visiting KFC restaurants worldwide. For years, he carried the secret Original Recipe in his head and the spice mixture in his car as he drove coast to coast visiting franchisees.

“I’m thrilled to be helping preserve stories from the Colonel’s life so that future generations can understand what an important role he played in the history of KFC and our country,” Topmiller says.