Digital Story

Will Gerstein is a junior in the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who started his own chicken business at the young age of 18. He is an entrepreneur from Green Lake, a small town in Wisconsin, which is where this story begins.

 “Today there’s technology and there’s apps and everything you would ever need to start a business in a month, two months.”


Encouraging young people to become entrepreneurs is something that Will takes seriously, and by sharing his story I hope that anyone who has considered starting their own business, young or old, can see that success is achievable. Will explains how it is easier than ever to start a business in this day and age, and hopes that more young people take the leap into entrepreneurship.

As I mentioned before, this story starts in Wisconsin. Despite living all over the world at a young age, from Chicago to Spain to California, Will calls Green Lake home to this day. It is also home to the original Bucket Wings location, which Will opened while he was still in high school in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, selling takeout chicken from a small kitchen in Green Lake. The business was a major success and is still open and operating to this day, run by kids ages 15 to 18, while Will attends college in North Carolina.

“I think the first day Bucket Wings made maybe 10 dollars, and I thought I had hit the big leagues.”


At this point, Will was happy with his accomplishment in Wisconsin, but why stop there? That’s when he decided to expand. Will knew that if he wanted to bring his business to Chapel Hill, he would have to find a way around the ridiculous rent prices on Franklin Street. During his sophomore year at UNC-Chapel Hill, Will was able to work out a deal with Blue Dogwood, a public market that promotes local businesses. Buckets at Chapel Hill was born, able to operate in a prime location while supporting Blue Dogwood during hours they were usually closed. Will had cleared the biggest hurdle, but there was still work to be done before opening. 

The first night of Buckets at Chapel Hill was a massive success. Because the original Buckets opened during the COVID-19 pandemic, Will wasn’t able to have a large opening event. That was not the case in 2022, when hundreds of customers flooded the patio of Blue Dogwood for Will’s chicken and waffles. With his entire family in town for the opening, Will and his team of undergraduate employees ran the restaurant without a hitch.

Watch the Story Here

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