Clarksville, TN – It was a celebration at White Castle on Wilma Rudolph Boulevard yesterday as City and County officials along with representatives from the Clarksville-Area Chamber of Commerce joined with company representatives to celebrate the completion of the five-month long rebuilding and expansion of their only local restaurant.
The new White Castle, located at 3060 Wilma Rudolph Boulevard, will open to the general public on Sunday, January 26th, at 9:00am, and replaces an older building originally built in 1999.
I spoke with Francis Nation, the district supervisor shortly after arriving, and asked him how it felt to see the restaurant come together, “Oh It’s just amazing the progress that we’ve made so far with this restaurant. The location that we had before was an pre-existing building that we went into, and now this is a brand-new from White Castle’s standpoint. I think the Clarksville community will enjoy having such a beautiful location.” General manager Becky Roche agreed, “It’s really nice is such an improvement over what we did have before; not that it was bad, but with the new store we have come fully into this century.”
Shawna Jones, the Regional Director of Restaurant Operations was on hand emcee the ceremony. She began by thanking all the people who made the reopening possible. She then spoke directly to the attendees.
“White Castle is a huge family. We’re family-owned and we have been in business for 93 years. We’re just happy to serve our community. We like to feed “Cravers” of all generations, and make memorable moments everyday.” She told Clarksville Online during an interview after the ceremony, “It feels amazing to not only get the restaurant open which will not only help pay the bills but will also get our local employees back into the Castle so they can all get paycheck to depend on. We were able to keep some of our employees busy helping out at Manna Café Ministries during the downtime, but there simply wasn’t enough work available there to employ them all”
Kenny York the founder of Manna Café Ministries loved having the volunteers, “It was amazing we had four the came, I think they told me it added up to over 700 hours of community service that they did. And White Castle paid their employees during that time through the White Castle Cares program. It was a good partnership!” He continued, “I hope that more businesses will consider offering their employees the opportunity to volunteer with community organizations such as Manna Café Ministries. That’s one of the things that’s hard for us is to get people coming in consistently on a set schedule. Because we work with so many volunteers so anytime we have a local business step up to help subsidize our volunteers it’s really huge!”
During the ribbon cutting ceremony Jones talked a bit about the building, “This is one of probably 20 of our new remodel jobs and one of the most unique things is that we partner with churches chicken. This White Castle has both Churches and White Castle in one building so there is something here for everyone. If you notice when you’re at the front counter you can see everything we do, we have the island griddles so that our guest to see everything being prepared from the hamburgers to the chicken to the french fries. We’re modern, we’re new; everything is brand-new. We’re fresh, Wi-Fi, television. So we’re excited.”
Jones concluded with an invitation to the Clarksville Community, “It really feels great to be back in the community to serve our products and feed the Cravers of all generations and make some great memories. Thank you for letting us be here, and please come out and pay us a visit and let us serve you once again! Thank you!”
Dalton Harrison County Commissioner for District 6 was on hand representing Montgomery County Mayor Carolyn Bowers and the Montgomery County Commission, “I want to thank everybody for being here today and I want to thank white Castle for investing not just the money they spent on this beautiful building, but the additional jobs are providing to our community.” he said during the ribbon cutting ceremony.
I sat with him as we ate after the ceremony and enjoyed a great conversation, and he expanded on his statement during the ceremony, “Anytime we can get the initial investment that’s a good thing, but when you get that repeat investment a company that decides it is going to stay here, upgrade, and increase the workforce it just helps everybody out.” He praised white Castle again for their philanthropic efforts in the community, “For them to actually pay their employees to go and volunteer, I think is a fantastic project. It shows that they do really care.” After being asked to sample the potato bacon chowder he remarked, “This is absolutely perfect on such a cold day;” the Thick Creamy Chowder was loaded chunks of potatoes, veggies, along with delicious bacon crumbles.
Bill Harpel was on hand representing Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan, “We thank you for not only tearing the old store down and rebuilding but it’s always a stamp of approval when outside Corporations and businesses see us and come back here and say not only do we want to continue to do business in Clarksville-Montgomery County but we want to step it up. To put 30 employees in the work and then stepping up and increasing that. We appreciate that and we really do take it as a validation. We all like good sliders, but we also like those companies that want to be part of us and who give a little deeper than just pay the corporate tax and that’s what they showed up by teaming up with Manna Café Ministries.”
After the ribbon cutting ceremony attendees took a short tour of the new restaurant seeing the kitchen, and the staff are at work preparing to feed them. You can see more in the photo gallery included below.