Feb. 4, 2021
The actual meeting lasted all of about 10 minutes. However, the impact of the City of Columbia Planning and Zoning Board meeting last week will go on for years to come.
In a unanimous decision, board members voted to approve site development plans for KFC’s request to open a location at Dohoney Trace in front of Walmart near Burkesville Road.
JRS Restaurant Corporation in Middlesboro will operate the franchise.
“We have been a family business for over 50 years and Columbia has some of the same qualities and charm as Middlesboro does,” said Mallory Shoffner Quintero, people capability leader at JRS. “It has a hometown feel, so a town like Columbia is perfect for us.”
The board meeting was just another step closer to getting the project completed. The engineers have signed off on drainage issues, so the deal meets all the requirements set forth by city of Columbia ordinances. Marv Bloomquist, president of Bloomquist Design Group of Louisville, represented JRS at the meeting and said the architect on the project will now move forward in getting building permits and getting the work started.
“We’re pleased Kentucky Friday Chicken has chosen Columbia, Ky. to be a new location,” said Pam Hoots, mayor of Columbia. “We’re excited about what this means for our economy, additional jobs, and we will be glad to help them in any way we can.”
Bloomquist has been searching Columbia to find the best location for quite some time.
“I have looked with the real estate person at three or four different sites in the area and we finally settled on the Burkesville Road site in front of Walmart,” Bloomquist said. “I started looking at sites every bit of a year ago or longer. We’ve been trying to find something that made good sense for a lot of traffic to come by the store. The Burkesville Road store works out very nicely.”
“There is a lot of work that goes into the front end of determining a location for a store,” Quintero said. “The building is the easy part. There were other places we were looking at, but the numbers told us this would be the best location.”
The current plan is to put KFC next to Burger King with an open field between it and Lee’s Famous Recipe.
JRS, which owns 33 franchises, including 10 of which are Long John Silver’s, is planning to break ground in April and has hopes of opening for business in the middle of summer.
“In towns like this, KFC is not a drive-by store. You’re not going to drive by and say ‘Hey, let’s stop in and have some chicken,’” Bloomquist said. “When you leave your house you know you’re going to KFC to get chicken. That’s what we want.”
The Columbia location will be 2,250 square feet and seat 25 people. KFC may hire upwards of 20 people on staff.
By Scott Wilson