Ardmore’s sprawling bloc of fast-food, a spate of 21 drive-thru chains stretching across the city's central artery at North Commerce to I-35, added another big notch in its burger belt yesterday.
Wendy’s, the third-largest hamburger chain in the world, is heading to Ardmore, the city announced.
And like a double patty combo forming through a finely-tuned assembly line, the construction of the fast-food chain swiftly roared to life, with developers putting boots and bulldozers on the ground early in the morning, less than 24 hours after filing its permit.
When the city announced the burger chain's arrival to the public, construction at the site was already underway.
The Wendy’s will be located on the corner of 15th Street NW and North Commerce, directly across from the Sirloin Stockade outside the Shops of Ardmore Mall and next door to Mercy Hospital's shadow
A general contractor at the future Wendy's site, who requested not to be identified by name, said the project is scheduled to be completed after 90 work days over the course of 14 weeks.
Ardmore Development Services Director Jessica Scott said Ardmore can look forward to more variety in its fast-food options, increased tax revenue and local jobs stemming from the arrival of Wendy's..
“I think it’s a good fit for Ardmore because it’s something new,” Scott said. “We used to have a Wendy’s in Ardmore a long time ago and I think the people here really like Wendy’s. We haven’t had one in a while.”
For years, the closest Wendy’s for Ardmore residents has been 40 miles south in Gainesville, Texas.
Once the future Wendy's gets up and running, Ardmore will take over the mantle as the closest city for commuters, travelers and southern Oklahomans in search of pigtails and square patties, Scott said.
The Development Services director said another benefit of the the Wendy's coming to town is the chain's estimate that it would cost $750,000 to construct the building in Ardmore, adding that typically, businesses will hire locals to work the various jobs needed to complete construction.
The 1.4-mile stretch along North Commerce from Broadway to Carl's Jr. holds a stacked collection of fast-food icons including the Whopper, the Big Mac, the Buttery Jack, The Crunchwrap Supreme, the Big Carl, the Cod Sandwich and soon, the elusive Baconator and Wendy's square-shaped beef.
The Ardmore Wendy's, built on a vacant lot that was previously occupied by a since-demolished doctor's office, will compete with 13 drive-thru burger chains, three fried chicken chains, back-to-back taco rivals, Long John Silvers, Arby's, Starbucks, and Grandy's.
"it's an indicator of how much is going on in this area and how successful our businesses are," Scott said of the number of fast-food options in Ardmore, specifically along North Commerce. "It's busy with people shopping at the mall, getting groceries, going to Walmart and in and out of all kinds of stores. People are on the go, eventually they want to get something to eat that's convenient."
The process for deciding to bring a business to Ardmore is thorough, Scott said.
“First we make sure there’s a need,” she said. “Then we have to find the right area and the right infrastructure. It needs to work both ways, benefiting the city and the business. I think Wendy’s and Ardmore will benefit from each other."
After bringing Five Guys to Ardmore in 2017, this year, the city's plans plans to bring Taco Casa, Panda Express and now Wendy's. Ardmore City Manager JD Spohn said each venture was making progress but were allin various stages of construction and ironing out permits.
In addition to fast food, Spohn said the Market Street Shopping Center on 12th street bringing Academy, Bed Bath and Beyond and a host of other stores is nearing a groundbreaking date in the coming weeks.