{ business directory }

FREDDY’S SET TO OPEN IN FORT SMITH

By John Lovett / Times Record / jlovett@swtimes.com

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers will open Tuesday on Rogers Avenue in Fort Smith.

The Wichita, Kan.-based restaurant chain announced in July it would convert the former KFC restaurant store at 7719 Rogers Ave. into its fourth Arkansas location.

Arkansas has Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers in Fayetteville, Springdale and Rogers, with dozens in Oklahoma and Missouri. There are more than 240 Freddy’s restaurants nationwide in 30 states.

The Fort Smith Freddy’s employs about 80 people, according to a Freddy’s spokesperson. The hours of operation will be 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The makeup of business along the east end of Rogers Avenue has changed over the past few months.

In addition to the planned closure of Sears at Central Mall, and the closure of MovieLounge and The Coffee Cup in October, the Taco Bell at 4710 Rogers Ave. near the mall closed in December.

Fred Williams of Williams/Crawford & Associates, a spokesman for Fort Smith-based K-MAC Enterprises, said the Taco Bell at 4710 Rogers Ave. dates to the 1980s and was the second Taco Bell owned by K-MAC Enterprises. The building was owned by actress Sally Struthers of “All in the Family” fame as a real estate investment, Williams added. Several other celebrities were investors in K-MAC Enterprises back then, Williams said.

K-MAC now operates about 270 Taco Bell restaurants, more than a dozen KFC restaurants and six Golden Corral restaurants. They have more than 7,500 employees.

The Coffee Cup

Caleb Hobdale, one of the owners of The Coffee Cup, said by phone this week from the company’s original Poteau location that although they had their regulars at the Fort Smith location, business was “too slow.” The Coffee Cup opened its doors in May 2015 next to Bliss Cupcake Cafe in The Plaza at 7110 Rogers Ave.

Hobdale attributed the lack of a drive-through to the slower business, but he also noted that “within 18 months, five coffee shops” opened in Fort Smith. One of those was a new Starbucks about a mile away on Phoenix Avenue near an Interstate 540 exit.

The Coffee Cup has been influential in the local market, though, being the first to offer nitrogen-infused, cold-brewed coffee on tap. They offered unique coffees from around the world, brewed in a variety of methods. Hobdale said they have sold some equipment from the Fort Smith Coffee Cup, and use some at the Poteau location, but some equipment is still available for sale.