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The Yankee Express

BK in Whitinsville a whopper of a success so far

Mar 10, 2021 08:47AM ● By Rod Lee

Balloons greeted customers at the door of the Burger King in Whitinsville for a grand reopening of the restaurant on February 27. Inside, patrons are treated to a freshened-up look to the premises.

Weeks of speculation about the fate of the former Burger King at Plummers Corner in Whitinsville stretched into months—eighteen of them in total, a year and a half—before the mystery was finally solved.

“CVS is going in there with a stand-alone building,” was one rumor.

“It’s going to be a Wendy’s.”

“A KFC.”

“A bank (don’t we have enough of those?).”

“A Hooters.”

The answer came just after the holidays and it was “none of the above.”

It’s a Burger King again, and a modernized, smart-looking model of the store that is already drawing virtually nonstop traffic to the door and to the drive-up window.

The building was completely renovated, inside and out.


“This is one of the busiest Burger Kings in America,” Cody Baldwin, a manager, said, on February 26, after breaking away from a telephone call to talk to a reporter. “We’re having a grand reopening tomorrow.”

What many people who are stopping by the local “home of the Whopper” do not realize is that Mr. Baldwin is a holdover on the premises.

“I was here before,” he said. “A kitchen fire shut us down.”

Patrons would also be surprised to learn that Florida-based entrepreneur and philanthropist James Cammilleri is now the franchisee. By adding 1177 Providence Road to his holdings, Mr. Cammilleri’s business empire just keeps growng. He now owns more than sixty stores in New York state (most of them in his hometown area of Rochester and Buffalo), Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Making this arrangement work as an absentee proprietor from 1500 miles away—be it in upstate New York or in the Blackstone Valley of Massachusetts—might seem unlikely, but then there is Mr. Cammilleri and his wife Sarah’s passion for business, faith and charity to consider.

From the moment he got involved with Burger King in 1989 while employed in his father’s restaurants, two of which he wound up purchasing, to the present day, Mr. Cammilleri appears to have had a grand design in mind. This really came together when he formed the “JSC Management Group” and then a second company—the nonprofit “Elevating Christian Ministries,” launched in collaboration with his wife in 2016 with the express purpose of alleviating the hunger crisis in Haiti.

Elevating Christian Ministries, a name inspired by a band called “Elevating Worship,” feeds more than 10,000 children in eight-five schools in Haiti per day.

There is more to the James Cammilleri story.

Building on their faith, Mr. and Mrs. Cammilleri co-authored a book called “Living a Life of Yes,” about seizing opportunities as a way to discovering “your uncommon self.”

His operational philosophies appear to be grounded in such phrases as “people over profits” and his favorite quote from the Bible, which is “give and it shall be given.” Which explains why, asked for a small donation for the homeless upon entering a grocery store, he gave one hundred dollars.

He lost one restaurant, years ago, “because I got too greedy.”

At the grand reopening on the last Saturday of February, customers who brought a food item with them for the Northbridge pantry were treated to a free Whopper.

Today, Mr. Cammilleri employs three hundred fifty people in his restaurants and two management companies.

Mr. Baldwin said that approximately thirty of those workers, full and part-time, are based in Whitinsville, where a new BK has risen from the ashes of the old.


Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.