Wingstop partner: Sulphur Spgs. store one of their high priorities

By BRUCE ALSOBROOK | News-Telegram Managing Editor

Aug 6, 2007 - One of the partners in a group planning to build a multitude of restaurants in East Texas, including Sulphur Springs, said last week the Hopkins County location is among their priority locations.

Bryan Selden, who along with David Weaver Jeff Worthen plan to open 12 new Wingstop, cited the role Sulphur Springs plays in the region as a reason for its selection.

"We chose the greater Northeast Texas area to grow the brand as this is an area we already do business in with other brands, and Sulphur Springs is an important part of this area," Selden said Saturday.

On Tuesday, Richardson-based Wingstop announced the agreement with Selden, Jeff Worthen and David Weaver to open the stores.

Jeff Worthen has owned three Wingstop restaurants for the past five years, while Selden has operated 11 Great American Cookie franchises for 20 years. David Weaver has been a Subway franchisee for nearly 20 years and operate 12 units in the Tyler area.

They plan to open two new restaurants this year and four additional locations in 2008.

In addition to Sulphur Springs, the agreement calls for new Wingstops in Tyler, Longview, Corsicana, Palestine, Ennis, Greenville, Mount Pleasant, Jacksonville, Marshall, Paris and Henderson.

Where and when the local restaurant will open is still up in the air.

"We do not have a timetable for this specific store," Selden said. "But I can tell you that we signed a development agreement for what is now a 12 store build-out, and Sulphur Springs is in this group and high on our list."

It's unlikely the partners will build new in Sulphur Springs. Most, if not all, Wingstops are leased spaces in high-traffic retail properties.

There have been rumors circulating that the team will try to locate at a new shopping center under construction next to the Lowe's store on South Broadway Street, but no decisions have been made.

"We have made two visits to Sulphur Springs and have general ideas of where we want to go, but have made no specific plans," Selden said, adding they usually utilize strip shopping centers for stores.

The restaurant should employ about a dozen people, although not all would be full-time workers.

"Twelve employees would be a normal crew," Selden said. "The general manger and assistant manager would be full-time. The rest would be a mix of full- and part-time."

Wingstop, specializing in chicken wings with different sauces, was founded in 1994 and began franchising in 1997. Wingstop has more than 550 locations open or under development nationwide, and systemwide sales have grown from $11.9 million in 2000 to $150 million in 2006. Earlier this year, the company announced it sold its one billionth wing.

From 2001 and 2005, the chain moved up from 336 to 89 on Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500 ranking of all leading franchise brands worldwide.  

According to the Wingstop website, “Wingstop restaurants are designed featuring a nostalgic, aviation-themed atmosphere. All of our stores are outfitted with 1930's1940's, pre-jet engine aviation décor and artifacts. The entire family will feel welcome in our comfortable and inviting surroundings.”

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