Sam F. Hamra’s remarkable legacy as a lawyer and restaurateur in Springfield, Missouri is his reward for tapping into a truly boundless entrepreneurial spirit. Mr. Hamra is the founder and chairman of Hamra Enterprises, one of the most successful franchisee companies of Wendy’s®, Panera Bread, and Holiday Inn Express & Suites. The Hamra Enterprises legacy started when Mr. Hamra entered a franchise agreement with Wendy’s® International in 1975, with his first store opening on West Sunshine Street in Springfield in 1976.
Encouraged to become an attorney by his father and former Federal District Judge Roy W. Harper, Mr. Hamra earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Law from the University of Missouri. He was admitted to practice through the Missouri Bar, and began his law career with Miller, Fairman & Sanford in 1959, where he later became a junior partner. He opened his own law practice in 1965. He is particularly proud of having served as a city attorney for Nixa, Missouri from 1965 to 1970, where he was instrumental in the construction of an electrical utility distribution system. The civic impact on his home state is still felt today, as Mr. Hamra played a vital role in obtaining funding for the widening of Chestnut Expressway and Highway 65 from two lanes to four lanes, as well as influential in securing the funding for the South James River Expressway.
In 1975, he obtained the franchise for Wendy’s restaurants in Springfield, Joplin, Columbia and Jefferson City. He continued his law practice of Sam F. Hamra, P.C., where he handled cases in the areas of business law, government relations, and real estate. In addition to founding Wendy’s of Missouri in 1975, Mr. Hamra also became the founder of Chicago Panera Bread in 1975 and Boston Panera Bread in 1977.
In May of 2015, Hamra Enterprises celebrated the opening of its hundredth franchise location, a Panera Bread in Tinley Park, Illinois. Later that year in November, the company acquired 30 Wendy’s® restaurants in Boston, and the following year, acquired 25 Wendy’s Restaurants in Chicago, increasing its total restaurant portfolio to 155 restaurants. Even after 40 years working in two different industries, Mr. Hamra continues to go to the office every day, and looks forward to doing it for many years to come. He enjoys golfing, collecting art, and spending time with his family, particularly his wife, June, his children, Sam, III, Karen, Mike and Jackie, 10 grandchildren and 3 great-grandsons.
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