Krystal has announced plans to rebuild its tornado-ravaged Ringgold restaurant, having dealt with initial worries that $32 million state road project would make that impossible.
The Chattanooga-based restaurant chain boarded up its Ringgold location after it was devastated in April 2011 by a twister that tore through the town's business district.
That could have been the end of the story because Georgia's plans for road construction on Alabama Highway would have blocked off Krystal's parking lot entrance, making it pointless to rebuild. Several gas stations and a local McDonalds were also affected.
But local officials like State Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, intervened, negotiating with state officials for ways to save Krystal and several other nearby businesses.
Brian Blosser, vice president of development for Krystal, said the restaurant would not have happened without changes to the plan.
"As we were working through the process, we had several issues to work through to make sure our customers could easily access our restaurant's parking lot," Blosser said.
Workers will demolish what's left of the old structure at 5337 Alabama Highway starting next week, he said. The rejuvinated restaurant, which features a new design, will eventually employ 35 workers when complete.
Doug Pendergast, president and CEO of Krystal, praised the company's new Atlanta-based owners for their willingness to build new restaurants.
"Within the next five years, we have a goal of having 500 stores, and Ringgold will be a model for many of our future efforts," Pendergast said. "We appreciate the patience of this special community and look forward to seeing them as they roll through our drive through or come in for a visit over coffee."
Ellis Smith joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in January 2010 as a business reporter. His beat includes the flooring industry, Chattem, Unum, Krystal, the automobile market, real estate and technology. Ellis is from Marietta, Ga., and has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication at the University of West Georgia. He previously worked at UTV-13 News, Carrollton, Ga., as a producer; at the The West Georgian, Carrollton, Ga., as editor; and at the Times-Georgian, Carrollton, ...