Arbico East is a franchise of 12 Arby’s restaurants headquartered in Bristol, Tennessee. Under the ownership of Don Shawl, Jeff Shawl, and Chris Smith, the franchise operates throughout Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.
The restaurant group opened its first Arby’s restaurant in Bristol, Virginia in 1982 and continued to grow. The company is a local, family business. Don Shawl and three business partners formed Arbico East, LLC in 1982. The first restaurant was opened on Lee Highway in Bristol, Virginia. The company opened the other restaurants over the next decade in the Tri-Cities area. In 2014, the ownership of the Company changed as Chris Smith and Don’s son, Jeff, purchased two-thirds of Arbico, with Don continuing to own the other one-third of the Company. This leadership evolution allowed Arbico to continue as a key and independent part of the Community. The company maintains its deep roots in this area and intends to keep strengthening its commitment to the Tri-Cities area.
Arbico’s General Managers have, on average, over 20 years’ experience with the company! Many of our Managers and General Managers began their careers as team members. Family members of our team often join Arbico and become integral contributors in their own right. This longevity and family atmosphere have created a unique culture that values teamwork, commitment and guest service. Our team makes Arbico a special organization that strives to serve our community and our guests.
Throughout the years, Arbico East has been committed to investing in the Tri-Cities and surrounding areas. The owners of the franchise promote a spirit of giving in the restaurants – it is ingrained in our culture. Each manager is encouraged to be an active participant in their community and make their restaurant a “neighborhood” restaurant.
Our restaurants donate to and assist hundreds of organizations and schools each year. Arbico East has raised more than $840,000 for local groups and organizations such as Niswonger Children’s Hospital, Speedway Children’s Charities, United Way, Second Harvest Food Bank, Boys and Girls Club, Coalition for Kids, Girls Incorporated, and American Cancer Society.
Since 1982, the Arby’s Classic, hosted at Tennessee High in Bristol, TN, has been sponsored and supported by Arby's. Don Shawl was instrumental in building the Arby’s Classic into one of the premier high school basketball tournaments in the country. Teams come from all over the United States, and the world, to play in the Arby’s Classic. In recent years, teams from Europe, the Bahamas, Canada, California, New York, Ohio, and Florida have competed against local teams. The Arby’s Classic mission is to promote East Tennessee and expose basketball fans to outstanding players and teams from around the world. In addition to fulfilling its mission, the Arby’s Classic provides a significant economic boost to the area. Learn more about the Arby’s Classic at www.arbysclassic.net.