Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Frozen Assets: Franchisee Targets Tulsa Area for Freddy's Expansion

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Frozen Assets: Franchisee Targets Tulsa Area for Freddy's Expansion

Article excerpt

TULSA - Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers will nearly double its Tulsa presence this year, with franchisee Nick Esterline considering still more locations for Oklahoma's second-largest market.

"We initially signed a franchise agreement for just six stores," said Esterline, founder of The Titleist Group of Cos. in Wichita, Kansas, and a broker with Landmark Commercial Real Estate.

The planned addition of two stores will bring his franchise to five Tulsa locations.

"We think that there are opportunities for more," he said. "We control the rights to build more than the six if we think there's room. We'll start looking at that once The Walk at Tulsa Hills opens."

In its Wednesday meeting, the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission will consider a detailed site plan for Freddy's on 1.2 acres inside The Walk, a shopping center under construction at the southeast corner of 81st Street and U.S. Highway 75.

If that regulatory process flows smoothly, Esterline said he hopes to begin construction of that 3,200-square-foot store in March, allowing potential opening in June. Ink Construction of Wichita will raise the estimated $500,000-plus building from designs by Wichita's Winter Architects.

Ink also is assembling another Winter-designed Freddy's at 10305 S. Memorial in Bixby. Esterline expects that 3,200-square-foot restaurant to open in February.

"These stores will generally staff 35 to 45 people once the stores level off and stabilize," said Esterline, who declined discussion of revenues.

These projects will augment existing Esterline-owned locations in Owasso, Broken Arrow, and Tulsa's busy 71st Street commercial corridor. All are operated by JRI Management of Salina, Kansas.

"It sounds like he's done a good job at grabbing strategic locations," said University of Oklahoma retail economist James Kenderdine, who has eaten at Freddy's outlet in Norman. "I really like it. I think it's a good operation, and judging from how they manage the one in west Norman, they've got a good handle on the back- shop operation and on keeping it running smoothly and on consistently turning out a top-notch product."

This construction marks just a few of the seven to eight Freddy's that Esterline and JRI expect to launch this year, joining the 21 they operate under franchises in Arizona, northeastern Oklahoma, Georgia and North Carolina. …

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