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Meet the ukulele-playing founder of Stumpy’s Hatchet House


“I have three grown children and the dogs have now replaced our children—we take them everywhere.” — Trish Oliphant, co-founder, Stumpy’s Hatchet House

Who would play you in the biopic about your life?

I know this right off the top of my head. I just finished ‘Little Fires Everywhere’ on Hulu, and it’s one of my favorite books. Reese Witherspoon is my favorite actress hands down. She’s also of a smaller stature, like me, so I think she’d be perfect to play me in the movie of ‘Trish and Stumpy’s Hatchet House.’

What’s your favorite franchise brand that’s not your own?

I love me some Chick-fil-A. My husband and I, we travel around the country for our franchise and we both love Chick-fil-A. The food is really good and the employees are so friendly. It’s also always really clean. Plus, the personal attention that they give.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

We have two dogs, Woody and Chip. Chip is a sheepadoodle and Woody is a goldendoodle, so they’re both big dogs. I have three grown children and the dogs have now replaced our children—we take them everywhere. So, I guess just treating our dogs, that’s my guilty pleasure. Our dogs are our children right now.

What chore do you absolutely hate doing?

One comes to mind right away but it’s just so stupid. I don’t mind washing laundry, but I just hate putting it away. It’s just such a mindless chore … not my cup of tea. I also don’t like emptying the dishwasher.

What are you freakishly bad at (or good at)?

For Christmas last year from Santa, aka my husband, Mark, I got a ukulele. I don’t play the ukulele. I don’t play any instrument. But it’s something I aspire to be really good at, but I’m not there yet. My first song was ‘Over the Rainbow’ and I’m working on ‘Riptide.’ My dogs like it.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?

My son married a girl from France. They had a baby, they live here in Hoboken, and we all went to France so her parents could meet Hugo. My son told me not to ask questions about the food but to just try it. So, we’re all together and my son goes ‘Here, taste this.’ It just came off the grill. It was buttery and garlicy but it was spongy and had a gross texture. It was the testicles of a rooster. It was actually tasty but the texture was awful. I grew up in Central America, my dad had a business in Panama, so I’ve eaten iguana. But the testicles of a rooster takes the cake.

Laura Michaels

Editor Laura Michaels asks the tough questions—What superhero power would you most like to have? What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?—to show a side of franchising execs you don’t normally see. To suggest an industry professional, email lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.

If you could dis-invent one thing, what would it be?

This COVID-19. It’s unprecedented, it affects everybody. If I could get rid of that I totally would.

What’s something you would seriously stockpile if you found out it wasn’t going to be sold anymore?

I’m a little addicted to MAC lipstick, the color Peachstock. And I’ll be honest, I’ve already stockpiled it a little bit.

With whom would you most like to spend a day?

Alive would be Jason Momoa, for a whole bunch of reasons. But one is he’s a really good hatchet thrower, he actually makes his own. So, I’d invite him to come hatchet throwing.

Well, it’d be shirtless hatchet throwing for him. And dead, Jackie O. I’m enamored with her intelligence, her sense of style and fashion. And the fact that she was married to JFK and was our first lady. I think she’d be amazing to sit down and have a conversation with.

If you could be a member of any TV show family, which would it be?

Before we opened Stumpy’s I actually worked for Ralph Lauren in the men’s wholesale division. So, I think you could just put me into Jennifer Aniston’s role on ‘Friends.’

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