I wrote last year about a new restaurant that is going to open in Cape Girardeau called Lenny's Sub Shops. Well, it's closer to happening after the company announced its agreement with franchise group River Cities LLC to open 40 restaurants in eastern Missouri, including Cape Girardeau.
Bridget Graf, a spokeswoman for Lenny's, said the company plans to expand the franchise to St. Louis and 15 other eastern Missouri counties over the next five years. The first restaurant will open in St. Louis in the first quarter of 2006. After developing St. Louis, River Cities plans to expand down the Interstate 55 corridor.
River Cities, a prominent group of investors from St. Louis and Memphis, decided to get involved with Lenny's because they view it as a well-run company with great potential for growth and advancement.
"We like the core values of the company and of course the top-of-the-line food and service," said operating manager Danielle Rich. "We are excited about bringing a quality operation both in food and service to our guests in St. Louis, Jefferson City, Cape Girardeau and the eastern part of Missouri."
Rich and several of her partners are from the St. Louis area, so they know the market and believe that it lacks a quality quick-service sub shop like Lenny's. Rich said market areas like Cape Girardeau, Columbia and Jefferson City all present a great expansion opportunity for Lenny's.
Recently Lenny's has made announcements about the growth of the franchise. In the past few months, Lenny's has sold multirestaurant packages in several states, including Nevada, Missouri, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Alabama and Arkansas. Lenny's is on track to open between 400 and 500 restaurants in the next few years.
When will it happen? Soon, is all the group has said so far.
* New grill and bar in Fruitland: Linda and Bill Wooten have opened Bayou Bar & Grill in Fruitland, which features a variety of foods with a Cajun flair.
The restaurant opened recently in the old Leemon's Lounge at 18701 Highway 177, about three miles from the Highway 61/177 interchange as you head toward Procter & Gamble.
For appetizers, there is food like Bayou buffalo wings, nacho plates, fried mushrooms and cheesesteaks. There's also several different po' boy sandwiches, hamburgers and a choice of regular, Cajun or sweet potato fries.
Linda Wooten works at Orthopedic Associates, and her husband runs the restaurant full time. Bill Wooten lived in Baton Rouge for many years.
"It's always been his desire to have a restaurant like this," she said.
It wouldn't be a Cajun restaurant, either, unless it has red beans and rice and gumbo, and they do. They also will serve fried barbecue bologna sandwiches topped with coleslaw and served on Texas toast.
Bill Wooten will doing the smoking of their pork chops. The restaurant, by the way, is decorated in rustic, bayou decor with some Mardi Gras decorations.
* New rental property group: Lorna Gibbar, Laura Ritter and Carolyn Curtis have started RGC Property Management Group in Cape Girardeau. Ritter is a real estate agent, Gibbar is a loan officer and Curtis is a loan processor.
RGC Property Management will be at 1217 N. Kingshighway in the Imperial Building. The three will manage rental property, whether it's apartment buildings, complexes or individual homes. The three already do some of this for properties they own, but the new company will offer the same service for clients who own properties.
"If someone owns an apartment and doesn't want to deal with renters, make sure it's cleaned up, we'll do it," Gibbar said. They'll also collect rent and check for repairs.
They currently are managing about 70 properties. They'll be taking new clients as of Jan. 1. They hope to go up to about 700 units.
* McDowell, Dillon, retiring from J.C. Penney's: J.C. Penney's recently held a retirement dinner for manager Gary McDowell and salon manager Martha Dillon.
McDowell has worked at J.C. Penney's for 37 1/2 years, the last five at the Cape Girardeau store. Dillon has been running the salon since the mall store opened nearly 24 years ago. The other purpose of the dinner was to thanking the employees for their hard work during Penney's recent remodeling work.
McDowell said that Dillon made the salon a big success, building it to the 10th largest salon in the J.C. Penney Co.
McDowell, meanwhile, started out selling suits in college, then went on to the training program after he graduated. He's been everything from department manager to assistant store manager and since 1986 he's been a store manager at seven different stores.
McDowell intends to start a second career as a teacher. His last day is Dec. 31.
* Chez Natchez on Broadway has closed after its brief run. I've been unable to reach owner Kathy Broussard to find out the specifics.
Scott Moyers is the business editor for the Southeast Missourian. Send comments, business news, information or questions to Biz Buzz, 301 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, Mo., 63702-0699, call 335-6611, extension 137 or e-mail email@example.com.