And it was so much fun after I got going, it was like—it was like everyone that came in was your family. It was close. Everybody knew each other. Everyone was friendly. And they actually started calling me “mom.” They said, “You’re like my mom when I’m away from home! You come and take care of me and you feed me!” And I started naming my breakfasts after the kids ‘cause they started making up their own breakfasts and what they liked, their favorite foods, or whatever. So the specials had their names on them.
Wendy Wheeler was born in Worcester’s Great Brook Valley in 1954 and attended Burncoat High School. After having two children and getting a job at Sprague Electric, Wendy met her second husband and moved to the Main South neighborhood. In 1982, they bought a Main Street restaurant, which Wendy ran with the support of family for two years. Wendy is still well-known in the Main South neighborhood as “Wendy from Wendy’s Clark Brunch” (now Annie’s Clark Brunch). In this interview, Wendy discusses the struggles and joys of her experience in the restaurant business. Growing up in a large family, Wendy learned to cook at a young age—taught by her father who had professional experience as a short-order cook—and carried this skill with her throughout her life. She discusses the challenges she faced in building up a successful business and the relationships she made as a surrogate mother to Clark University students who frequented the restaurant. Wendy elaborates upon the importance of family businesses in her life and gives advice to future women entrepreneurs. In this interview, Wendy also touches on her experiences as a young working mother and the changes that she witnessed in the Main South neighborhood over the years.