Stuck at the state line
Most of Mount Olive-based Andy’s Burgers, Shakes & Fries Inc.’s franchised and company-owned restaurants are in eastern North Carolina. But seeing one that opened near Charlotte in December on track to bring in $1.3 million this year — nearly triple the take of the average Andy’s — gave CEO Kenny Moore an appetite to expand outside the state. But his eyes have proved to be bigger than his stomach: Facing regulatory hurdles, plus trademark-infringement challenges to the chain’s name, he had not signed an out-of-state franchisee by mid-August.
Why go outside North Carolina?
Charlotte was like a whole different world. It was three hours away from our power base in the east. But it’s become the No. 1 store in the company. That showed me that our concept could go anywhere.
Can you use your name in other states?
We went from being Andy’s to Checkers to Highway 55. But we’re Andy’s again.
How did that happen?
We got a pass from an attorney with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. We’re in a 30-day window where other companies have a right to come against us. Keep that quiet. [Somebody in the Midwest challenged, which could take 90 days to resolve.]
Has that been the biggest hurdle?
The name has been the biggie. Historically, I opened stores in areas and clustered them so our name recognition preceded us. We’ve spent 20 years building this runway. Now we’re ready to take off, we’re excited, and we get bounced back.
Have other states been welcoming?
It hasn’t been what I thought it would be, especially in this economy. I’m a 20-year concept, not some fly-by-night that doesn’t know how to keep restaurants clean.
What’s the hardest state to deal with?
We wanted to go into Maryland. Because of government regulations, I made the decision not to. It’s too much of a hassle.
Texas said, “Send us the application and the check. Once it’s in the mail, you’re qualified.”
Is there a chance expansion outside North Carolina won’t happen in 2011?
The company I’ve hired to sell the franchises is contractually obligated to get 10 this year. If I were it, I’d overperform and underpromise.
MOREHEAD CITY — Canada-based PCS Phosphate withdrew plans to build a $90 million sulfur-melting plant with 125-foot smokestacks at the state port. It had been widely opposed due to health and safety concerns.
MOYOCK — Xe Services, the private-security company formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide (cover story, June 2007), moved its headquarters to Arlington, Va. Basing about 20 executives and support staff there will allow it to foster relationships with customers in and around Washington, D.C., the company says. About 200 employees will remain at the 7,000-acre training campus here.
KINSTON — Spirit AeroSystems plans to move production of jet wings from Tulsa, Okla., to its factory at the N.C. Global TransPark, adding up to 200 jobs during the next five years. The Wichita, Kan.-based company already employs about 245 here but plans to have up to 750 by 2013.
ENGELHARD — ECB Bancorp, which operates 25 East Carolina Bank branches primarily along the coast, agreed to acquire the deposits and some assets of seven Gateway Bank branches in North Carolina. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
HAVELOCK — The Navy says it won’t transfer two squadrons of F/A-18 Super Hornet jets to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point from Naval Air Station Oceana, near Virginia Beach, Va. Instead, the planes will move to Lemoore, Calif.