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Smell of roast
beef in the air?

Rumors have Arby's
coming to Hartselle

By Deangelo McDaniel 340-2469

HARTSELLE — Will the aroma of roast beef and cheddar curly fries float through the air here sometime soon?

As Captain D's prepares to open in mid-June, city leaders said they have heard rumors that Arby's Restaurant will open near the Wal-Mart Supercenter on U.S. 31.

That's less than one-half mile from the Captain D's site and in an area where Hartselle has had more than $3 million in commercial development.

"I've checked with development and we do not currently have anything listed for Hartselle," said Kathy Siefert, Arby's director of public relations.

This does not mean, however, that Arby's officials are not negotiating with someone for a franchise in Hartselle, she said.

Siefert said she receives updates "quite frequently" and it's possible that development plans for an Arby's in Hartselle have not made it to her desk.

Jeff Johnson of the Department of Development said no one representing the company has purchased a building permit or submitted site plans.

"You know how those rumors get out," he said.

Mayor Dwight Tankersley was sick Tuesday and not available for comment. Last week, however, he was at the International Council of Shopping Centers in Las Vegas where he talked with Arby's representatives.

According to Arby's Web site, the company charges a franchise fee of $37,500 for the first restaurant and $25,000 for additional locations.

Decatur is the only municipality in Morgan County with an Arby's. The city has two locations.

In an in-depth marketing study of Hartselle, Arby's was one of the restaurants a Texas-based company suggested that the city recruit.

Regardless of what happens with Arby's, Johnson said Captain D's hopes to open in mid-June. He said the restaurant is about 90 percent complete.

"They are doing curb and gutter and parking lot work this week," Johnson said. "The restaurant equipment was delivered last week and they will soon be training."

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