Delta Business Entrepreneur
By Becky Gillette • Photography by Holly Tharp
Cleveland-based entrepreneur Will Bradham has a long track record of success with his Right at Home healthcare support business and Delta Maids, and also has done well with taking over Lennys Grill and Subs in Cleveland purchased in 2019.
Bradham is well regarded by other business owners in the community including Blake Ferretti.
“Will is a good friend I confide in regarding personal life and business ventures,” says Ferretti. “There aren’t many successful businessmen in our age demographic, so it is nice to have someone who is the same season as myself to brainstorm business ideas and talk about balancing family life.”
Vance St. Columbia admires how much Bradham cares about other people and his community.
“I’ve known Will since he was five years old and I started dating his sister,” says St. Columbia. “Will is just like his father, Red Bradham, who was a very generous person and a wonderful entrepreneur who owned several businesses. His father, who passed away in 1998, would be so proud of how well Will has done. I can see his father in him in the things he does. Will wants to help everyone. He is the type of guy who, if you want a job or to do better for yourself, he is going to help you. He has that entrepreneurial spirit. He is a good soul.”
Currently Bradham is spending every other week in Oxford taking care of his two kids—who are his greatest accomplishments.
“There is a certain level of boredom that sets in from the time I take the kids to school and pick them up,” says Bradham. “I saw a need for Delta Maids and Right at Home over in the Oxford area. We see an opportunity over here. We are rolling out in this market right now. We are not leaving Cleveland at all. That is my home base. That is my hometown. We just saw an opportunity to expand.”
Bradham has been operating Delta Maids and Right at Home for ten years now. His reputation in the community has grown during those years.
“His name holds a lot of weight around here,” says Delta Maids Supervisor Ashley S. Jackson. “Over the years, I’ve seen Will give jobs and opportunities to a lot of people. He is a great guy to work with, and has a big heart when it comes to the customers and the staff. Customers can rely on Will to do the right thing. I’m extremely grateful he gave me an opportunity to be a part of his company.”
Bradham says customers of Delta Maids can be assured that the cleaners are competent, reliable and trustworthy.
“If the lady you are hiring down the road gets sick, or something happens, she just doesn’t show up,” says Bradham. “In the case of our company, if the regular person cannot be there, we have backup to fill the void to make sure you get the service you need. We always want to make sure customers are taken care of.”
Bradham, who worked for years in insurance, makes sure their workers are bonded and insured. Unfortunately, some people can be victims of theft.
“We want to make sure that doesn’t happen,” he says. “In addition to a background check, we do a thorough job of vetting our employees to make sure we are sending a quality employee.”
There are also plenty of nightmare stories about how employees in cleaning businesses are underpaid or not paid at all.
“We’ve been doing the janitorial and health companies now for ten years, which is a big deal,” he says. “We have longevity. We are not going anywhere. We do pay better than anyone else in the industry. Every single employee stayed employed during the pandemic even though there was a place in the pandemic where we lost a significant amount of business. No one lost their job. That has been very beneficial.”
They offer employees consistent hours and pay important benefits.
“If we don’t take care of employees, they might not show up for work or won’t do good work,” he says. “We do our best to weed out people who don’t have their focus on the importance of providing good services to the clients.”
One of the reasons he got into the home healthcare field is his father became very ill when Bradham was seventeen and was eventually bedbound. He then saw the need for home healthcare.
“People are more comfortable in their own homes,” says Bradham. “Especially for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, you want to keep things consistent. People tend to do better at home. It costs a substantial amount for a nursing facility. Without services like ours, people would end up in a nursing facility whether they need it or not. We are basically providing maintenance care at home in a better environment. That opens up care in assisted living and nursing homes for those who need it.”
Bradham Enterprises Director of Operations Kim Nesdahl loves Bradham’s energy.
“He is one of those people who, when he sets his mind to something, he is all in,” says Nesdahl. “He is very committed to his customers, his staff, his company, his community and his children. I have a family member with our program. It affords people more independence. When you place an elder in an institution type setting, they tend to decline faster. If they are able to maintain some of their normal independence, they seem to thrive.”
Nesdahl says another benefit is that people receiving care at home can choose what they want to eat.
“The community needs this service,” says Nesdahl. “And, things are starting to get back on track from the pandemic. Everyone is able to get back to work. Clients are not as restricted as before.”
There is a growing population of baby boomers reaching the age where they need assistance.
“The need is tremendous,” says Bradham. “Can we take care of dementia patients? Absolutely. But we can also take care of someone who is recovering from knee surgery.”
There is a labor crisis in the U.S. right now. Healthcare lost a lot of employees from burnout, and to travel jobs.
“That is something I hadn’t seen before, the demand for travel healthcare providers,” says Bradham. “It has put a strain on every level of healthcare right now.”
Bradham spent ten years in food services working for Sysco Corp. out of Memphis. But he has never seen the kind of challenges facing restaurants today…lack of availability of products, problems with the quality of products, and insane prices.
“Couple that with every utility having gone up twenty to thirty percent and the lack of labor,” says Bradham. “Lennys is a great business. It is a lot of fun, and I love the food there. But, it is an extremely tough industry right now. It is the worst I’ve ever seen it for restauranteurs. I hope people understand that and support those guys and gals by going out to eat.”
During the pandemic the restaurants that did a lot of drive through, takeout or deliveries fared better than those who relied on indoor feeding.
“The industry is realizing large footprint restaurants aren’t as necessary anymore,” says Bradham. “Pre-pandemic, ninty percent of our business at Lennys was coming into eat. We weren’t doing drive through at all. Then we went to 100 percent drive through. We are starting to see people come back in, but still seventy-five percent of our orders are coming through the drive through or takeout. I don’t think most people are still worried about the pandemic, but this may be a new level of efficiency for the customer. They can order through the app, pick it up and go back home.”
Bradham was born and raised in Clarksdale and graduated from Delta State University in Cleveland in 2001 with a degree in marketing. While operating four businesses takes up a lot of his time, he is also passionate about giving back. He is a former president of the Lion’s Club in Cleveland, and is former president of Our Lady of Victories Catholic Church Parish Council and a former Deputy Grand Knight and Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus. Other organizations he has volunteered with include the Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce, United Way and the Boy Scouts of America. He is the former president of the DSU Alumni in Cleveland.
His first priority is his children, Wilkes, twelve, and Anna Reese, nine. Wilkes plays tennis and Anna Reese plays travel softball. Bradham attends a lot of their sporting events. He also enjoys the occasional round of golf, loves going to the gym and is an unabashed foodie.
“I love to go to restaurants and try new things,” he says. “That is a big thing for me.”
Bradham was the recipient of The Kent Wyatt Young Alumnus Award in 2014 and was inducted into the Delta State University Hall of Fame 2019. He was elected as Election Commissioner for District 2 in Bolivar County in 2020.