Inver Grove Heights residents often wonder why restaurants, grocery stores and other retail shops pass over the opportunity to open or expand in IGH. The answers never seem clear, but there are always a variety of factors that go into those business decisions.
But it doesn’t mean that Inver Grove Heights isn’t on the watch list of restaurant owners who are looking to expand.
In fact, Howard and Shannon Bryant, owners of Wingstop in Roseville at HarMar Mall, told Eat IGH that if they do expand, Inver Grove Heights and West Saint Paul are on the list of possible expansion sites.
Wingstop Restaurants, Inc., is a chain of nostalgic, aviation-themed restaurants where the sole focus is chicken wings. Wingstop is a national franchise with over 860 stores nationwide, including two in Minnesota (Roseville and Brooklyn Center). Wingstop was founded in 1994 in Garland, TX by Antonio Swad. Wingstop in Texas is equivalent to Caribou Coffee in Minnesota, there are about 300 stores in Texas alone. Wingstop also has international locations in Mexico, Russia, Philippines, and most recently Dubai. Rapper and entertainer Rick Ross owns over 20 Wingstop franchises and Seattle Seahawks standout Richard Sherman recently opened a Wingstop franchise.
“As long as our Wingstop continues to grow in Roseville, we will seek to open another restaurant,” says Shannon Bryant, who indicated that they will start seeking expansion locations in spring of 2017. “We have not decided on a location, but both Inver Grove Heights and West Saint Paul would be on the potential list.”
In fact, a location on the border of Inver Grove Heights and West Saint Paul was considered before the couple decided to open up their Wingstop in Roseville. The Bryant’s originally focused on opening a Wingstop in the Ten Acres shopping center in West Saint Paul. That area is home to Cub Foods, and across from White Castle, at the intersection of Robert Street and Mendota Road. But the new construction in the strip mall next to Cub had not broken ground yet, and Roseville had a site that was move-in ready, and the right fit at the right time.
“The HarMar Mall was ready and available, and the traffic and demographics were a good fit,” says Bryant.
When it was mentioned that Robert Street will soon be home to two new chicken-focused restaurants, including a Chick-fil-A and a Raising Canes, Shannon Bryant said those factors would definitely play a role in deciding where to expand the next restaurant.
Another franchisee owns the Brooklyn Center Wingstop. Inver Grove Heights is currently an open territory, meaning the Bryant’s would have to work with Wingstop corporate to buy the rights to expand in Inver Grove Heights. The ideal size of a Wingstop, says Bryant, is 1,600 to 2,300 square feet. Wingstop has a lot of takeout business, but there has been growth in sit down. The typical sit down Wingstop has between 40 and 60 seats.
“Strip malls or convenient locations with easy in and out parking are ideal for Wingstop,” says Bryant.
Translation: The Argenta Hills development in Inver Grove Heights is the perfect fit for a new Wingstop.
Here are four reasons why:
- There are existing spaces that are the right size available in Argenta Hills. Click on this link to read documents with specific Argenta Hills building site details (view PDFs in lower right corner for specific plan/site information)
- It is part of a strip mall, next to a large retailer (Target), and a new housing development.
- It’s relatively easy to get in and out to the Argenta Hills development, and located off a busy highway.
- Parking is ample for those looking for in and out service, or to sit down.
The Bryant’s were asked this question:
Inver Grove Heights has a lot of open real estate, including an area called Argenta Hills, where there is a new Target and a newer residential area, which is also still growing. It’s located off Highway 55 on the northern part of Inver Grove Heights. Would this type of location be a fit?
“When we get to that phase of looking for real estate, we will evaluate this spot,” said Bryant, adding “we can definitely see potential for either IGH or WSP.”
The decision to open in Roseville was strictly a business decision made by the Bryant’s. The City of Roseville, other than approving permits and license, was not involved in persuading the Bryant’s to open a Wingstop in their city.
“There was no courting or sales pitch from them,” says Bryant. “They approved our liquor license and approved business licenses. But, they didn’t do any type of recruiting or incentives.”
Wingstop currently has 11 regular classic and boneless wing, and chicken tender flavors: Atomic, Mango Habanero, Cajun, Original Hot, Louisiana Rub, Mild, Hickory Smoked BBQ, Lemon Pepper, Garlic Parmesan, Hawaiian and Teriyaki. Along with Wingstop’s fresh, hand tossed, cooked to order wings, the sides include award-winning fresh hand cut seasoned fries, creamy coleslaw, creamy potato salad, bourbon baked beans, fresh baked rolls, and veggie sticks. Soft drinks, tea and bottled domestics and premium beers are also available at Wingstop restaurants.
“Wingstop is a fun, engaging brand that people will become loyal to,” says Bryant. “Wingstop loves to work with and support local communities. We host local fundraisers for many school organizations and non-profits throughout the year that gives them a 50 percent donation back from purchase.”
There is still a lot that would have to happen for a Wingstop to open in IGH or WSP. But there is potential and it’s being discussed. And maybe someday, Inver Grove Heights or West Saint Paul residents will see how fun those Wingstop restaurants can be – without having to leave their own city.