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OUR STORY

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RAILYARD MISSION

To create an environment that fosters the development and growth of local restauranteurs and start-up entrepreneurs by connecting them with the local Fayetteville community. To provide our guests with diverse culinary concepts and craft beverage selections paired with unique entertainment and recreation options. To build our community in partnership with external organizations through the love of food, drink, and the arts.

RAILYARD VISION

Railyard FVL, its owners, and employees value a commitment to community, integrity within the food service sector, and innovation in design and green initiatives. Our philosophy is to always maintain an environment of inclusiveness and support of downtown revitalization and progress. Our vision is to bring Railyard establishments to other communities throughout NC to help build the community, create jobs, and support local up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

Think Different + Be Different.

 

That is the motto behind Railyard FVL and its owners, John and Jennifer Kistler.

We have long been involved in the community and as stewards of Fayetteville, we felt passionately about making the city a better place to live. In early 2023, I (John) realized it was time to shift from my career as an active duty Army officer to something that would allow my creative passions to flourish. As a Soldier, I consistently heard from others serving that “there’s nothing to do in Fayetteville”…and that bothered us. It became clear that many residents traveled to cities outside of Fayetteville to have fun, share in experiences, and create memories. Not to mention, spend their hard-earned money. Why shouldn't they be spending those dollars in Fayetteville and boosting the economy?

We knew something was missing and it took a little while to figure out what it was and eventually we determined that Fayetteville needed a food hall. Folks here love to eat; chain restaurants do exceptionally well but there is a lack in local, mom and pop style establishments despite the demand for such venues. And that was it! Railyard FVL was destined to become a food hub for locals and out-of-town guests.

Yet Railyard would become so much more.  Railyard is about experiences. Food drives the experience but art is just as important in creating those one-of-a-kind memories. Envisioned as a community gathering space, we knew we wanted to incorporate the arts into the business. Including a performance stage was integral to the design process and allowed us to capitalize on all the area has to offer in performance art. We plan on pursuing partnerships with community arts organizations and local artists as we believe these relationships are key to driving community engagement at Railyard.

And still it developed more. We added gallery space. We consciously wanted to promote fitness and added recreation amenities such as pickleball and sand volleyball. We are partnering with a local soccer coach to incorporate a mini soccer pitch. We grew from being a food hall business to a food, beverage, and arts, entertainment and recreation destination!

We are thrilled to be able to offer something to the citizens of Fayetteville and beyond – something that the whole family can enjoy. Railyard is a place of social gathering, where we can engage with each other, enjoy exceptional food and drink, and unite in the common goal of having a great time. 

We can't wait to see you and your families in The 'Yard!

- John & Jennifer Kistler

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THE FOUNDERS

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John F. Kistler, III

John is a Fayetteville native who has lived much of his life in the city. He is in the process of receiving an Honorable discharge as a U.S. Army Civil Affairs officer and transitioning to the Reserve component. He has over 12 years of leadership and management experience, including the last 3 in Special Operations. John has a B.A. in history from Fayetteville State University and a M.A. from East Carolina University in International Relations, where he studied international business and communication. John is a big-picture visionary who knows where he wants to go and what he wants to accomplish and surrounds himself with expertise and knowledge from the community to achieve that vision. A huge advocate for downtown Fayetteville, John enjoys giving back to the community and believes it is important to connect with the community. John’s community involvement includes serving on: the Millennial Advisory Commission, Fayetteville Kiwanis Club Board of Directors, and the Fayetteville/Cumberland County Arts Council Board of Trustees. He was recently appointed to the United Way Board of Directors. John and his family have developed relationships with the Salvation Army of the Sandhills and the Child Advocacy Center through various fundraisers that they host annually. John was recognized as a leader in the community with the Fayetteville Observer’s “40 Under 40” award in 2020.

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Jennifer Dawes Kistler

Jennifer has over 8 years of restaurant owner/operator experience, currently operating a successful Firehouse Subs franchise on Glensford Drive. She also has 5 years of experience in restaurant management and retail sales. Jennifer hails from Fort Lauderdale, FL and has a B.A. in Business Management from Florida Atlantic University where she also studied marketing. Jennifer’s Firehouse Subs store has consistently been rated in the top 5 stores in the Southeast Region and her current gross sales exceed $1 million annually. Jennifer also spends time involved in the community through the Fayetteville Junior League, Salvation Army, St. Patrick Catholic School, Cumberland County Schools, and the Child Advocacy Center. In 2021, Jennifer was honored as a Fayetteville Observer “40 Under 40” award winner for her contributions to the community and success as a business owner.

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