BY JIM MISUNAS
LARNED — Thanks to Nelson Stone of Great Bend, Larned’s new Taco Bell location has begun taking shape. A groundbreaking ceremony was held Thursday in Larned.
Taco Bell will construct a state-of-the art restaurant at Broadway and 14th.
Stone of Stone Sand Company used his expert excavation skills he learned from his father to raze the long vacant Taylor Food Mart at Broadway and 14th, the city’s busiest intersection. Nelson Stone became president of Stone Sand Co. when he was born in 1973. He grew up coming to work with his mother and father every day since he was 4 days old.
Stone Sand trucks were busy this week hauling concrete and other debris from the property this week. Six buried gas tanks and a vacant building were removed. Charlie Kennedy of Wichita assisted on demolition operation.
The best news is the old gas pumps were removed easily without any problems or issues with contamination.
Jami White Weathers is district manager for Taco Bell of America, Inc. in western Kansas. She resides in Larned, but supervises Taco Bell operations in Great Bend, Hays, Dodge City and Liberal.
“Nelson Stone and our business partnership with Stone Sand has been above and beyond our expectations,” Weathers said. “Stone Sand gets the job done. The demo work has stayed on time.”
More than 80 people attended the groundbreaking ceremony that was held after the site was cleared this week.
‘‘From the moment, we made the initial announcement about Taco Bell, we have received upbeat positive responses from everyone,” Weathers said. “We have 18 future employees undergoing training at our businesses in Great Bend, Pratt and Hays. That is going really well. Our progress tells me we need to train our additional employees who will work in Larned.”
Kelly Jacobs has been hired as manager for the Larned Taco Bell.
Applications are still being accepted at the Larned Chamber office, 502 North Broadway. Weathers said if anyone is interested, they should not wait until Taco Bell opens later this year.
Weathers has been reunited with her son, William Nusser, an accountant for Simmons & Simmons. Weathers and her son are both Hutchinson High graduates who have relocated to Larned.
Clock realty agent Del Fischer said she brokered the deal to help sell the property for an out-of-state company that is responsible for Taylor Food Mart properties.
“It’s a good location that people will see from all directions,” Fischer said. “Its great that a business is going in that shows positive growth. Anytime a new business moves to town, it’s important for your city.”
In 1974, Larry Fugate went into business by his formation of Pizza Hut of Southeast Kansas, Inc. and the purchase of two Pizza Hut restaurants. Fugate acquired his first two Taco Bell locations in Wichita. The Taco Bell brand has since grown to more than 70 Taco Bell restaurants in four states. The restaurants are owned and operated by TB of America, Inc.