Thursday, September 27, 2012
Fry Street businesses upset by new national chain additions
All that glitters is not gold for established Fry Street haunts.
DENTON Grand openings, new buildings, and new businesses mean change. They mean new options for dining and fresh competition for established businesses. Fry Street’s newest additions have disrupted the status quo at Denton eateries that have been around for years, business managers and employees said.
New franchise businesses that opened earlier this month are starting to affect the older restaurants on Fry Street by impacting sales and increasing property value, Jimmy John’s general manager Hiro Miyata said.
“Customers have more choices, and business is more evenly distributed,” Miyata said. “They aren’t going to just one place anymore.”
The openings of Chipotle, Potbelly, and MacDaddy’s near UNT campus have given students more options during lunch breaks.
Miyata said that sales have been down and lunches have been significantly slower at Jimmy John’s since the new restaurants have opened.
“The business has been down since last year about 20 to 25 percent,” Pita Pit owner Tim Raiet said. “You are competing with national chains that are strong both inside town and next to college campuses.”
Raiet said it’s hard to compete with the popularity of the new businesses because of the amount of national advertising they receive. Pita Pit is a franchise but is not as well-known as other restaurants on Fry Street, he said.
Decreasing sales is not the only problem facing older restaurants near campus. The rising popularity of the area is causing increases in rent for other businesses.
“The rent keeps going up because of the addition of new businesses, which are national chains,” Raiet said.
Once the excitement of grand openings wears off, students may return to their old habits, returning some of the revenue to restaurants that have been there for years.
"Students are frequenting the new businesses because they’re fresh and unfamiliar," said regular Jimmy John’s customer Tyler Hatzenbuehler, a radio, television and film senior. He said once the shininess wears off, the students will strike a balance between new businesses and old.
“As soon as Potbelly opened I know that I went there probably five to 10 times, and now, it’s not that I don’t want to go back – I just wore myself out on it,” Hatzenbuehler said. “Now I’m back into my Jimmy John’s thing.”
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