Clarus Group LLC, of Spokane, which opened a Sonic Drive-In restaurant here in May, says it plans to open another Sonic eatery near a busy Post Falls intersection next spring.
Preston Hawkins, a Pasadena, Calif.-based businessman who co-owns Clarus with stepson Patrick Vollmer, of Spokane, says that he and his wife, Carrie, recently purchased 2.5 acres of land south of an Exxon gas station in Post Falls near the southeast corner of Mullan Avenue and state Route 41 for $1.2 million.
Theres about a 95 percent chance that there will be a Sonic Drive-In there by early spring of next year, says Hawkins. He says the eatery would be only the second Sonic Drive-In in all of Washington and North Idaho.
Hawkins and Vollmer acquired territorial franchise rights from Oklahoma City-based Sonic Corp., and plan within the next four years to open six more outlets, in Spokane Valley; Coeur dAlene; Pullman, Wash.; and Sandpoint, Lewiston, and Moscow, Idaho, Hawkins says.
He says a contractor hasnt been named yet for the planned 1,700-square-foot restaurant in Post Falls. That outlet, like the one in Spokane, wont have inside seating, but instead will have 24 parking slots where customers who are sitting in their vehicles can order food and drinks through an intercom system, then eat in their cars or use outside seating available for about 50 people.
The Sonic complex in Post Falls will require less than one acre of land, and the Hawkinses havent decided what to do with the remaining land on the site, says Preston Hawkins. He says theyre talking with other businesses about future options for the property, but havent decided yet if theyll sell or lease the surplus land or develop it themselves.
Clarus Spokane restaurant employs about 80 people, and if business warrants, its Post Falls eatery could employ a similar number of workers, Hawkins says.
Spokanes Sonic Drive-In, like other outlets in the about 3,200-restaurant Sonic Corp. chain, serves hamburgers, chicken, and other fast-food fare. Food is delivered to customers waiting in vehicles by employees wearing roller skates.
Hawkins says Clarus pays Sonic Corp. $30,000 for each restaurant it opens, but declines to say how much it paid for its territorial rights, which extend west to Moses Lake, Wash.; south to Lewiston; east to the Idaho-Montana border; and north to Bonners Ferry, Idaho.
Marshall Clark, of Clark Pacific Real Estate Co., of Spokane, handled the Post Falls property purchase.
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