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Hard for the chick to survive on Main Street

Posted Monday, February 4, 2008, at 10:46 AM

A few months ago, I wrote a feature story about Chicken and Waffles, a new restaurant that occupied the same hiding place on Main Street that had previously housed other restaurants to no success.

Despite the odds being against them, I thought the business may succeed for three reasons: one, they had a nice, catchy sign that drivers could easily see from the road; two, it was something different -- the restaurant offered variety to our town; and three, Main Street is expanding tremendously. So, I thought, even though many business have failed at that location, perhaps this one will make it. The owners were really nice, too, so on a personal note I really hoped it would do well.

Chicken and Waffles receieved an "A" for effort in my grade book.

Around the same time they closed, Chick-Fila opened. This will be a smashing success, I just knew. It's a southern chain and we all know how much Shelbyville folks love their fast food. On that note, I have to say I was stunned when I first moved here by the number of fast food restaurants there were. It seemed like an awful lot for the size of the town.

Back to Chick-Fila, I even sampled a Chick-Fila chicken sandwich on the day of their open house and thought it tasted good -- for fast food.

I was very surprised to hear Chick-Fila closed. I get so frustrated when restaurants fail in Shelbyville. We say we want more options, more variety, more restaurants.

But apparantly we're not ready.


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Actually I think the hours Chick-Fil-a was open hurt them..they were only open as far as I knew at lunch time,plus of course they are closed on Sunday.

I have ate at the one in Murfreesboro many many times and quite honestly this one was not nearly as good. I don't know if it had anything to do with them being portable or what but for me personally I didn't like it as well.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Mon, Feb 4, 2008, at 11:03 AM

Ok I have to relate this story told to me several years back about the building and parking lot where the chicken & waffles restaurant was. I was told that there was a curse on that place because a family cemetary was at that site. I am not clear on if the bodies were moved or not, but the story relater told me that a family memeber of the cemetary told him no business would ever succeed there.

I'm not saying I know or believe any of this to be fact. I'm just relating what I was told. However there never seems to be anything move into that building and be successful for long...

Does anyone else know anything about this tale?

William

-- Posted by HorseGentler on Mon, Feb 4, 2008, at 11:06 AM

Well, the full crowds at Ruby Tuesdays and Chilis and even Legends would tell you otherwise. I think Shelbyville is ready for options, its just they want good options. Having some make shift trailer as a restaurant like Chic-Fi-La did isnt very appetizing to many and I hear many complaints about the food not being that good. I dont know about the quality of food at Chicken and Waffles but the building itself would deter me away from eating there. I think many people want more options that are like Chilis and Ruby Tuesdays because they are usually great places to eat with a nice setting and atmosphere. If O'Charleys or Cracker Barrel opened up then they would do amazingly well too. People in Shelbyville love to eat . . . they just want something different and nice at the same time. We dont need any more fast food unless they want to bring in a Fazolis or Zaxbys. . . they are great places to eat with a good atmosphere also and fast food at the same time.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Mon, Feb 4, 2008, at 11:12 AM

I have never heard of that story, Horse, but it would make sence.

It frustrates my husband and I seeing all the businesses going up in that building and then closing. Everyone that starts a business put their heart and soul into it (I know on a personal stand point) hoping to make a decent income to feed the family and serve the public at the same time. I commend anyone who takes on the challenge of this suprisingly failing building.

I own my own business, and would love to open a store, but I haven't because I don't want everything I have worked hard for going down the toilet. For now, my business will remain home and internet based until I am confident it will suceed as a store.

As for the Chick-Fila thing...I saw that coming. It was a limited menu, and they were not open much. In my opinion, if it were a full scale restraunt, then it would still be open.

I would love to have a Red Lobster, yummy, and more "sit-down" restraunts. We eat at Ruby Tuesday's all the time!

-- Posted by Mary on Mon, Feb 4, 2008, at 11:27 AM

I think its time to bring back SHONEY'S.

-- Posted by shelbyvegas on Mon, Feb 4, 2008, at 12:29 PM

Getting a bit off subject here but I wonder if restaurants will have to tell you they serve cloned meat or not?

Kinda makes me wanna become vegan..of course there's not many veggies I like either. :>(

-- Posted by Dianatn on Mon, Feb 4, 2008, at 12:32 PM

Shoney's, or better yet...Friendly's. They have such good ice cream too.

What I would really like to see are a couple privately owned, quaint eateries on the square. Bocelli's is getting lonely! Also, I wonder what will happen when the Coffee Break sells.

-- Posted by sfowler on Mon, Feb 4, 2008, at 1:07 PM

I doubt there's any "curse" on the Chicken and Waffles building. It's simply too hidden from the street and has housed too many bars to be thought of seriously as housing a "family" restaurant.

At the parking lot entrance is a tombstone reading "On this tract is the Martin family cemetery." I'm not sure if anyone's still buried there or if bodies were moved, but as I recall it seems that the cemetery was more in the area of Kroger.

-- Posted by David Melson on Mon, Feb 4, 2008, at 1:13 PM

Chik-fil-a didn't fail beacuse of poor sales, It was a corporate issue.

-- Posted by keeleygraves on Mon, Feb 4, 2008, at 2:32 PM

They need a cookie place that sells little gingerbread men that look like Jesus. Then they can buy a few dozen and eat them saying they are filled with Jesus.

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Mon, Feb 4, 2008, at 3:26 PM

The old Caperton's area has a place for a restaurant,if someone wanted to re-do it.

The main dining section could serve salads and other family fare,the small room off to the left could act as a bar and the upstairs could have a pianist for those moments when a little elegance is in order.

The spiral staircase wouldn't work for everyone but it looks like that location could have promise and fill a niche that would complement Bocelli's,Coffee Break and a resurrected Pope's.

I think the Chik-fil-a was a test run to see if we could support a "real" version.

I miss the popcorn stand on the square.

Find someone who can enjoy tiny spaces,fix them up with a laptop,a reading light,game system and DVD's for down time and return to the era when the smell of popcorn wafted over the square and a warm cup of coffee or a refreshing cold drink were always available.

The kiosk would probably be easy enough to heat and cool due to its dimensions and there should be a market for its snacks and sundries-at least on special occasions.

Maybe we should be more vocal about what we want and don't want in local businesses.

That could save prospective business owners a lot of time and money they might waste by going against the public's desires.

Then,again,the owners could run their proposals by us before they invest in a dead end.

A little discussion with the target market ahead of time could create interest in goods or services we don't even know we need.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Mon, Feb 4, 2008, at 4:31 PM

Chick-fil-a was a temporary set up to test our market... Fazoli's would do amazingly well, as would a Zaxby's.

As for when the coffee break sales, perhaps a Starbuck's or Saxby's Coffee could build..

On a side note, WHAT is taking SOOO LONG for the new Taco Bell?? OH, and btw, Jaxspike was right, Shelbyville is ready for more restaurants, if we could only stop building two of certain ones while completely ignoring other bids, then perhaps we will see a wider variety. You can say what you want, but the city government has a HUGE say in who comes to this town. Unfortunately, their tastes don't always coincide with the other 30,000 people in the county.

Chick-fil-a, may come back, but as a full scale bricks and mortar store!

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Mon, Feb 4, 2008, at 7:45 PM

And a Shoney's would do so much better than a 3rd, 4th, or 5th chinese restaurant!

The former corporate company that owned both Captain D's and Shoney's, is no longer in charge. In fact, the two split when it came to corporate management, but still use the same MBM food service facilities to ship their food... Any kind of breakfast buffet, served daily, and a great salad bar, along with a decently priced lunch buffet, with a full scale menu at night, would do great. Shoney's, like many businesses were once widely popular here, and they can be again, soon!

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Mon, Feb 4, 2008, at 7:50 PM

darrick,

If you buy a lot on 231, and you buy a Outback franchise. I am sure the city of Shelbyville will allow you to put it there.

-- Posted by tdc on Mon, Feb 4, 2008, at 8:59 PM

Hmm, you think so? Why then did the Applebee's deal fall through? Like many others?

An Outback would be ok, but their hours of operation aren't sustainable for the city of Shelbyville...

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Mon, Feb 4, 2008, at 10:42 PM

I would love an Outback here but Darrick is right . . . Shelbyville is a lunch and supper crowd and Outback doesnt open for lunch hours except on the weekends I think. They would definitely have my support though because I love going to the one in Murfreesboro.

I dont know about Shoneys . . . many people still have bad memories of past experiences at the old one we had. I am not a huge fan of those kind of resturants and of Shoneys but maybe Dennys or something like it would be better . . . it would cater to the same kind of crowd and people wouldn't have memories of the previous one.

BTW . . . how does anyone eat at a place like Ryans? That place just looks nasty for the fact you have people at the food bar all in the food and kids playing in it. Maybe I am just too picky . . . LOL! Who knows, maybe a Ryans would do well here also . . . they just need to count on my business.

But yeah, I would love to get a Fazolis and a Zaxbys(KFC is definitely not that good anymore). Plus, they are both serve food at a great price.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Tue, Feb 5, 2008, at 7:04 AM

I meant to say Ryans "doesnt" need to count on my business.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Tue, Feb 5, 2008, at 7:10 AM

How is the city government supposedly deciding which restaurants to allow? I think the city government -- which runs on sales tax revenue -- would gladly allow any restaurant or retailer that decided to open here, provided that the zoning and site plan were in order. I can't understand this bizarre, paranoid fantasy so many people in town share that there's some secret cabal of city officials deciding which stores or restaurants to keep out.

A deal to open a new restaurant can fall through for any number of reasons -- site plan, zoning, issues with whoever is selling or leasing the property, or the restaurant chain changing its mind. Just because some restaurant chain looks at a site and doesn't end up building there doesn't automatically mean City Hall chased them off.

We all know about the mall that got chased away in the mid-1970s and became Northgate Mall in Tullahoma. But that was more than three decades ago, and I really think there's a different atmosphere today.

-- Posted by Jicarney on Tue, Feb 5, 2008, at 8:04 AM

Just because you don't understand "the bizarre and paranoid fantasy so many people in town share that there's some secret cabal of city officials deciding which stores or restaurants to keep out" doesn't mean it doesn't actually happen. I love how you discredit the thoughts of many with that comment. I will admit that the city has definitely gotten better over the past decade or so but there is definitely some preferential treatment going to some business over another. . . especially when it lines the pockets of certain council members or their friends.

To deny so is to subscribe to the thought that ignorance is bliss.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Tue, Feb 5, 2008, at 9:11 AM

How? What authority does the city have to keep you from opening an Applebee's if you meet zoning requirements?

-- Posted by Jicarney on Tue, Feb 5, 2008, at 9:48 AM

Also, I'm not naive -- but, as I pointed out earlier, it's in the city government's interest to allow as many retailers and restaurants as possible -- because that's where the city tax revenue comes from! If you're playing "follow the money," isn't that an answer right there?

I didn't mean to be dismissive -- but I hear so many ridiculous rumors from people who have no idea how retailing or development works. Every year or two, someone tells me -- for certain -- that Target is going to open here, even though Target never opens stores in our size market or without an interstate or mall nearby. If you have specific information about a specific case where someone has been treated unfairly, we'd love to hear about it. But most of what I hear are people saying "Gee, I wish we could get [restaurant] -- I wonder why the city won't let them come here?" as if it were the city's decision.

-- Posted by Jicarney on Tue, Feb 5, 2008, at 9:55 AM

Hmm, you think so? Why then did the Applebee's deal fall through? Like many others?

An Outback would be ok, but their hours of operation aren't sustainable for the city of Shelbyville...

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Mon, Feb 4, 2008, at 10:42 PM

The city of Shelbyville must be consipiring against giving us good places to eat. Your such a genius.

-- Posted by tdc on Tue, Feb 5, 2008, at 10:07 AM

Wouldn't it be cool if Shelbyville gave thousands of dollars to businesses just like they do the horse show.

Maybe we could attract many more things to come here. Oh wait, that will never happen. LOL!

-- Posted by jaxspike on Tue, Feb 5, 2008, at 10:26 AM

Why should we have to pay businesses to come here? If the business will work, they will come.

I have done business with the O'Charley's people in the past, they almost bought the lot where Chili's is. But the city had nothing to do with their decision not to come.

-- Posted by tdc on Tue, Feb 5, 2008, at 10:46 AM

I don't believe the people of Shelbyville will support a Outback.

I little to pricey for the average bunch. We need affordable choices not all this fast food junk. If you closed the McDonalds, Taco Bell and the others people of Shebyville would starve. No one cooks these days just load the kids up and go to McDonalds.

Next time you are at Wal-Mart just look at the line at McDonalds.

-- Posted by roadrunner on Tue, Feb 5, 2008, at 10:52 AM

The Chick-Fil-A menu and hours definitely hurt them, and it is a bit pricey for fast food. (just my opinion) I would love to see a Fazoli's and even a Ryan's. I have a big family and money wise it is VERY expensive for all of us to pack up and go to Ruby Tuesday's or Chili's. I have high school children that don't fill up off of the kids menus anymore. Somewhere like Ryan's where they can eat all they want is great for famiilies on a budget. As far as fast food, I would love to see a Steak and Shake.

-- Posted by titansfan on Tue, Feb 5, 2008, at 12:15 PM

My co-worker Brian just reminded me of perhaps the worst example of people not understanding the economics of businesses locating here. A woman came in one time and angrily cancelled her subscription because we -- and by "we" I mean the newspaper -- had allowed Big Lots to leave town. It was not entirely clear what sort of role she thought the Times-Gazette played in Big Lots' departure, but she was sure we were somehow accountable for it.

-- Posted by Jicarney on Tue, Feb 5, 2008, at 3:53 PM

I guess some folks just don't understand the "don't shoot the messenger" message. Or, maybe its just that "vast right wing conspiracy" to deprive Shelbyville of food and housewares.

-- Posted by devan on Tue, Feb 5, 2008, at 5:52 PM

It's just hilarious when you see towns like Tullahoma, Murfreesboro, and Manchester [all surrounding Shelbyville] growing exponentially... I don't think the city of Shelbyville conspires against us, but perhaps if a majority of people who made those decisions were under the age of 45-50, then they'd understand that growth happens...

Our county is a reactive county, we tend to wait til the last minute instead starting at the first hour, pick up where others leave off instead of others following our lead, and watch as businesses pass us by for cities that don't nit pick at which businesses come.

And tdc, your comment is so vague I can't really respond. An Outback would be amazing, I love Outback, but the hours of operation would not allow for them to be successful. You have to be open for lunch, 7 days a week in order to maintain decent revenue...

And Jicarney, I understand economics very well... Probably more so than many people in our county. You don't attract new businesses by having old, run down building sitting all around town.. You clean up the city's image, more than just those two weeks before the horse show, and start negotiating. We can create more jobs, perhaps if the city does more to create a newer modern image, rather than keeping things the way they've always been.

You can not sit here and tell me that the only businesses that scout out Shelbyville, are the ones that already exist, such as the TWO sonics, the NEW taco bell, TWO McDonald's, TWO Subways, etc.. I am content with having two of those restaurants, but those lots could have easily been sold to other establishments, that don't already exist.

It's simple, too few people make decisions for thousands of people, while not taking into consideration the majority of desires. There is no conspiracy against the citizens of Bedford County, heaven forbid the people not believe everything they tell us... I refuse to believe only the city's side on every issue.

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Tue, Feb 5, 2008, at 7:07 PM

And Jicarney, I understand economics very well... Probably more so than many people in our county. You don't attract new businesses by having old, run down building sitting all around town.. You clean up the city's image, more than just those two weeks before the horse show, and start negotiating. We can create more jobs, perhaps if the city does more to create a newer modern image, rather than keeping things the way they've always been.

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Tue, Feb 5, 2008, at 7:07 PM

Well everybody, it seems we now know who to listen to about all subjects. We have a self proclaimed super genius among us.

What is it you dont understand about business? Do you think that the franchisers that are out to make money (and I mean lots of money) are not making their own decisions about bedford county? The people at O'Charley's chart growth yearly. These companies tell their franchisers where they want to build. They go where the money is PERIOD. So please, get a grip.

-- Posted by mathman on Tue, Feb 5, 2008, at 7:38 PM

Ruby Tuesday's and Chili's seem to be doing quite well and haven't put Legends out of business either.. So why would any Franchise not think there is potential here?

-- Posted by Dianatn on Tue, Feb 5, 2008, at 8:59 PM

As I was driving down Madison St. last week I was noticing all the empty buildings. If you haven't been down Madison St. lately and paid attention to the 'strip' then maybe you need to. At one time Shelbyville was a nice town, but it is beginning to look a lot like Nolensville Rd. There are signs everywhere, run down buildings, and empty buildings. If you get away from the Wal-Mat / Kroger district, Shelbyville isn't very appealing for any new business in any direction.

-- Posted by sassy255 on Wed, Feb 6, 2008, at 1:20 AM

As I was driving down Madison St. last week I was noticing all the empty buildings. If you haven't been down Madison St. lately and paid attention to the 'strip' then maybe you need to. At one time Shelbyville was a nice town, but it is beginning to look a lot like Nolensville Rd. There are signs everywhere, run down buildings, and empty buildings. If you get away from the Wal-Mat / Kroger district, Shelbyville isn't very appealing for any new business in any direction.

-- Posted by sassy255 on Wed, Feb 6, 2008, at 1:20 AM

mathman, I never claimed to be a genius... But thanks for the nomination. Say what you want, but you can't completely neglect three sides of town, while focusing soley on the other.

There is plenty of potential for growth and development from this money-sucking franchises, but they don't feel confident doing business in a town that caters to a select few, who essentially live here for two weeks out of the year. You know how much the city cares, when the only time of the year things get replaced/trimmed, etc in large quantities is around the beginning of August. If only we worked as hard to attract businesses.

I would like someone to compile a list of potential employers, businesses that have visited Shelbyville, trying to stake claim here, but have had an unreasonably hard doing so. It would be an interesting list. Point blank, there is absolutely NOTHING to do in Shelbyville, besides every now and then catch a new release at the ever aging theater. And if you call having fun, spending hours in Wal-Mart, then that explains why new businesses are drawn in.

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Wed, Feb 6, 2008, at 9:28 AM

* should be, are NOT drawn in...

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Wed, Feb 6, 2008, at 9:29 AM

Did any of you actually eat at the Chicken and Waffles place? My husband and I went, and it was terrible. The waitress messed up our order and then quit mid-shift. Needless to say, I'm all for new places in Shelbyville, but not if the service is bad.

I'd actually just be happy if I could eat at more places in Shelbyville - as a vegetarien my options in town are severely limited.

-- Posted by cfrich on Wed, Feb 6, 2008, at 11:39 PM

We shouldn't be so dependent on outsiders.

A franchised business or other big concern can fail to come or leave in a heartbeat.

Locally owned and operated businesses would have a greater awareness of our needs and have a greater stake in our welfare.

We need to provide for ourselves all we can and believe that our goods and services can match what the big guys would offer.

When we don't need the rest of the world to support us,they'll be far more apt to come and participate in our success rather than be expected to be the main sources for our comfort.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Wed, Feb 6, 2008, at 11:50 PM

cfrich,

No, I did not eat at the chicken and waffles joint. Not because I was afraid of chicken flavored waffles but because it looked awful dirty in that little alley. Not to mention that place used to be a "club".

-- Posted by LauraSFT on Thu, Feb 7, 2008, at 7:54 AM

What bothered me about Chik-fil-A is that they came in here wanting to see if Shelbyville could sustain them as a business, but they sabotaged themselves. They were in a small trailer with a limited menu, opened just a certain number of hours and were cash only. I don't know many people that use cash these days. That's what hurt them. The one time I was going to eat there, I had to leave because I wanted to use a check card.

They shouldn't come in here half-hearted and then be shocked that we can't sustain them. That would be like testing out a Starbucks and only serving regular coffee. Wouldn't work.

-- Posted by Disturbia on Thu, Feb 7, 2008, at 12:32 PM

I guess the name of the chicken and waffles place is what turned me against it... it just didn't seem to go together.

It's funny how names and even signs that places put outside to advertise can make a difference. I saw a sign at a truck stop not long ago that read "Eat here and Get Gas" (made me wanna eat there LOL) I am sure the sign meant you could eat there and fill your car but somehow I just couldn't help but to read it the other way :>)

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Feb 7, 2008, at 4:48 PM

Great thoughts Disturbia... I agree whole heartedly! Speaking of Starbucks, we don't have one but Murfreesboro is getting close to having 9 of them. Now, something seems a little odd about that.

Anyways, that list I recommended, of how many businesses/manufacturers, etc have tried to stake claim yet been denied in Shelbyville. Where is it? Hmm...

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 5:32 PM

Someone told me that if the chick was on the right corner, she may do ok...?

-- Posted by nascarfanatic on Tue, Feb 12, 2008, at 6:21 PM


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Sadie Fowler is lifestyles editor for the Times-Gazette.
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