Sonic Drive-In to build on site near schools
It's official. A national franchise restaurant's coming to town.
Sonic Drive-In, long rumored to be eyeing Tonganoxie, plans to construct a drive-in restaurant this fall in North Star Subdivision, across U.S. Highway 24-40 from Tonganoxie High School and east of City Ford.
"They hope to be flippin' burgers by December 31," said Larry Shepek, a real estate agent who represented Sonic in the purchase of land for the restaurant.
The purchase of the property from Lem Evans, of Evans Real Estate, Tonganoxie, on Sept. 1 culminated three months of negotiations.
Steve Zahn said the location is a perfect fit for Sonic.
"We like to do a lot of community projects involving the schools, like pep rallies, donating cups and napkins for games, and all kinds of things like that," Zahn said. "We couldn't ask for a better place to be than right across from the schools."
Zahn of Pleasant Hill, Mo., owns 19 Sonic restaurants, two of which recently were honored among the top 10 Sonics in the United States.
"From what I can see," he said, "Tonganoxie has a pretty bright future, with the highway construction finished and the new race track coming. I think we're going to see a lot of growth here."
In June, Zahn purchased a Sonic restaurant in Baldwin and one in Eudora.
"We like it around here," he said.
Construction likely will start this week.
Shepek said the new franchise paid between $400,000 and $500,000 for the land.
The restaurant is expected to employ about 40 part- and full-time workers, Shepek said.
Shepek, who also is chairman of the Tonganoxie Planning Commission, described Zahn as a "hands-on" owner, actively involved in his restaurants and their communities.
"He likes to get to know the folks in his communities and get involved in the towns. He's quite a guy to bring to our town."