BY JIM MISUNAS
LARNED — Speculation became reality when a district manager announced a Taco Bell will be built at the busiest corner in town.
The Taco Bell will construct a state-of-the art restaurant to replace the long vacant Taylor Food Mart at Broadway and 14th, the city’s busiest intersection.
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.“I’m pleased to announce as district manager of Taco Ball of America — we are coming to Larned,” she said. “We have purchased the property formerly known as Taylor Mart. We will begin construction very soon. You will see lots of activity and change. Work that’s involved in removing that begin very soon.”
Weathers said she’s been welcomed to the community since she relocated from Tennessee after her mother’s death.
“I want to personally thank the community for everything you’ve done to welcome us. We are very excited to be part of such a wonderful community,” she said. “It’s a community that’s invested in their city and the future. We are very pleased to consider Larned to be our next big, big project.”
The company must remove several gas pumps and a vacant building.
Taco Bell job applications are being accepted at the Larned Chamber office, 502 Broadway. The business will open in 2015.
Weathers has reunited with her son, William Nusser, an accountant for Simmons & Simmons. Nusser introduced his mother, a touching way to introduce her publically to the community. Weathers and her son are both Hutchinson High graduates who have relocated to Larned.
“This is a process that started in September of last year,” Nusser said. “We are investing in our community and our infrastructure, which makes the process a lot easier. This shows we are a community worth investing in. I will introduce my lovely mother — Jami White Weathers.”
Weathers said the Chamber director Lauren Long and the Larned Chamber ambassadors supported the idea from the outset.
“What we did today would’nt have been possible without you guys,” Long said.
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.
“They said, if you can find a buyer and make an arrangement, they would pay for the help,” she said.
It took more than a year to work out the final details.
“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.”
Fischer said Weathers and her son have been welcome additions to the city.
“Jami is a definite asset to the city,” she said.
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 in Coffeyville and Independence. After getting into the video store business, Larry returned to his first love “food” and 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.