Faith, perseverance and sacrifice. Many fortunes have been built because someone’s faith helped them persevere through the hard times and make personal sacrifices in order to achieve a greater goal. Dennis R. Gadson Jr. is the epitome of these traits.
Gadson is a Columbia native. He is a 2001 graduate of Dreher High School. After high school, he attended Midlands Technical College to study electrical engineering, and Benedict College to study business administration. “I didn’t graduate from either one of them,” he said. “When I was at Benedict, I partied and made some mistakes.
During that time, I was into drugs.”
Gadson cleaned himself up and got into church. Since he had always had a mind for business, he left Benedict and decided to launch a mobile clothing business. He also opened a clothing store on Parklane that quickly failed.
“I was always about business,” he recalled. “I sold clothes and shoes out of the trunk of my car.”
His mother didn’t like the fact that he was selling clothes and shoes this way, so she opened the Gethsemane Thrift Store on Covenant Road. She allowed him to sell his items in the back.
“I didn’t want to do it, but that’s where I actually found my footing,” Gadson recalled. “It was boring, but it gave me time to think and change some things around.”
During this time, Gadson got married. He ran the thrift store, and his wife Treva worked at K-Mart. The couple was living with Gadson’s parents, and they soon gave birth to their first baby.
“My cousin told me that if you want to be successful, don’t let your wife work,” he recalled. “I knew I had to do something different.”
Gadson began looking for new opportunities.
“I remember driving through West Columbia and Cayce and seeing a cell phone store,” he recalled. “I had some friends in the cell phone business. So I sold a phone and made a good profit. I realized that this is something I could do to make money and help my family.”
Even though his wife had just given birth, Gadson decided to step out on faith. He took the $700 that he had set aside for rent and used it to launch a cell phone business.
The business, Cellular Plus, located at 1440 Knox Abbott Drive in Cayce, was immediately profitable.
“I told my wife that she’d never have to worry about work again,” Gadson recalled. “She became a partner in the business.”
Building a business on one income was a great sacrifice, but the couple made it work. They grew to the point where they didn’t have to live with his parents, and made enough money to start investing in other businesses. The first was a hair salon on Broad River Road.
“What was interesting was that I used to go in there and try to sell clothes and shoes,” Gadson recalled. “The ladies in there would laugh at me and tell me no. I ended up coming back and owning the same salon.”
Gadson owned Expression Hair Salon from 2010 until he sold it in 2015. During this time (2014), he answered a call to the ministry. In 2016, God gave him a vision for a new business – a chicken wing restaurant on Bush River Road.
“God gave it to me, and I went with it,” Gadson said. “I didn’t know anything about cooking at all. I started in the kitchen in my home.”
Gadson invited his family over, and they started experimenting with different chicken wing flavors. The couple opened Noisy Wings with eight flavors -- but that was only the beginning. They went through their cabinets to find unusual chicken wing flavors.
“We opened up the cabinet and said ‘Let’s fry this and see how it turns out.’ Let’s put peanut butter & jelly on a wing and see how it turns out. Let’s put marshmallows on a wing and see how it turns out.’ Everything turned out to be good,” Gadson said.
Because of these experiments, Gadson has one of the largest and most eclectic selection of wings in America. In addition to tradition wing flavors such as lemon pepper, teriyaki and ranch, Noisy Wings sells waffle wings, strawberry wings, peanut butter & jelly wings, Island Spice wings, dark chocolate wings, white chocolate wings, cookie & cream wings and lemonyaki wings. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
“We have 63 flavors now,” Gadson said, “and more coming.”
That creativity also extends to Noisy Wings’ dessert offerings. One of their most popular dessert items is the Fried Honey Bun. It is available with your choice of powdered sugar, strawberry sauce or marshmallow toppings. Other dessert items include Fried Oreos, Fried Nutter Butter, Deep Fried Strawberry Shortcake, and Deep Fried Oatmeal Pie.
The restaurant was so successful that the couple opened a second Noisy Wings on Bluff Road across from the Fairgrounds in 2018. Now that their concept was proven successful, they decided to franchise the restaurant. Two franchisees will open Noisy Wings next week – one at 3315 Farrow Road and one at 4000 Trotter Road.
“If McDonalds can do it, why not Noisy Wings?” Gadson laughed. “It was always my desire to leave a legacy and to open doors for people that I didn’t have. It is through the grace of God that I made it. Now I am able to supply jobs and help someone.”
In addition, Noisy Wings provides catering services. The company has catered events of up to 1,300 people. Even though they have only catered events in the Midlands, Gadson says that if the money is right, they will cater events anywhere in the Southeast. Long-term plans include opening more company-owned locations and franchises, as well as launching a food truck.
When asked why he has been successful, Gadson says he believes that “In order to get something that you have never had, you have to do something that you have never done.”
The first Noisy Wings is located at 1501 Bush River Road, and be reached by calling (803) 563-5733. The second Noisy Wings is located at 905A Bluff Road, and can be reached by calling (803) 851-7073. Noisy Wings franchises are opening next week at 5315 Farrow Road [(803) 771-0299] and 4000 Trotter Road [(803) 465-2957].
Delivery is available through BiteSquad, DoorDash, UberEats and Grubhub. You can also download the Noisy Wings app for your mobile devices and sign up for its loyalty program. To learn more, visit www.NoisyWings.com or follow the company on Facebook and Instagram.
If you are interested in franchise opportunities with Noisy Wings, call Gadson at the Bush River Road or Bluff Road locations.