(10/22/12) - The opening of a fast food restaurant usually doesn't draw a lot of
attention, but for one Mid-Michigan community, the opening of a Popeye's
Louisiana Kitchen restaurant isn't just about another place to eat.
It's about job creation.
This is something we haven't heard a lot of about lately in Buena Vista Township - job openings. Community leaders hope it leads to more positive news.
"This is the first redevelopment project that has taken place in Buena Vista on this corridor in 25 years, that is big," said Dwayne Parker, Buena Vista Twp. supervisor.
This corridor in Buena Vista Township, Holland Avenue right off of I-75, has been through tough times, but township leaders say this grand opening of Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen is important on several levels.
"It is the catalyst, what we think will be the catalyst, to new development to come," Parker said.
Businessman Earl Pegues says the idea to open this restaurant actually came from someone else.
"One of my employees would go to Flint, every other day, twice a week to go to Popeye's, and then I started hearing other people about going to Popeye's," said Earl Pegues of Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen. "It gives people jobs, like I said, 82 people have jobs."
People like Denise Luarck, who hasn't had a job since 2005.
"Off and on looking, putting applications in," she said.
She remembers the day Popeye's gave her call.
"I was ecstatic, I was happy, because I was in the first wave to get a call back," she said.
The restaurant is the first development on the site formerly known as the Fort Saginaw Mall. Parker believes more business will come to the 35 acre site.
"We are meeting and talking with developers and potential development, nothing so concrete that we can divulge at this time, but we are optimistic," Parker said.
And Denise Luarck is optimistic about her future now that she is working again, plus she likes the food.
"I love it, I love Popeye's chicken," she said.
Although 82 people have been hired, if the restaurant stays busy, the total number of employees could top 100.
ABC12 Main Station