QUESTION: I’d like to know what happened to Braum’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Also, I’d like to know what the new building is at the old car wash at U.S 259 at Highway 80 that they’re putting in.
ANSWER: I’ll start with Kentucky Fried Chicken: I reported in October that Southern Multifoods, the franchise that previously operated the combination Taco Bell-Kentucky Fried Chicken that was on Judson Road, had plans to get out of the combination restaurant business as it was rebuilding the Taco Bell there. (The company also converted other locations to Taco Bell restaurants only.)
I hope, though, that you saw the good news Sunday in Ken Hedler’s Business Beat column this past Sunday: KBP Foods, one of the largest YUM! brand franchises in the United States, tore down the former Fazoli’s restaurant building at 2407 Judson Road, with plans to build a Kentucky Fried Chicken at that location. It should be open by the end of the year.
As for Braum’s, the city’s development services office hasn’t heard from the company in months, and a company representative told me this week there was no update on the Longview location. I don’t think we can read anything into that, though. I spoke to a Braum’s representative in 2018 who said it would be a while before construction starts on the location where Liberty Baptist Church previously was at 1500 W. Loop 281 in Longview. He said the site would require significant work before construction could actually start, and he said the company first must secure sites in other towns around Longview as well. The company needs to be able to make deliveries to several stores in an area, or the economics don’t work out.
As for the Beer Wells Real estate sale sign in front of the church building there, Walter Northcutt with Beer Wells previously told me that sign is for 5 acres that is still available at that site. It has nothing to do with the church building.
Now, about the former car wash, a Zippy J’s convenience store is being built at what is 1920 E. Marshall Ave.
Q: Do you know how many students the Montessori school currently has enrolled? How many students will the building hold?
A: I didn’t know, but I was happy to ask. The East Texas Montessori Prep Academy, at Eastman Road and Marshall Avenue, has a maximum capacity of 1,300 students. District officials said it has 1,077 students enrolled, with a classroom cap of 22 students.
Q: Is it true that some of the first grade classes at Hudson PEP started the school year with long-term substitutes?
A: Longview ISD Testing Coordinator Catina Love told me this past week that Hudson PEP Elementary School has eight first-grade classes this year, and one of the teachers is classified as a long-term substitute.