‘We are not leaving Cullman’: Krystal looking for new home

By: ,
Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune

The Krystal sign lies in the parking lot of 1701 Second Ave. Monday morning. The restaurant location closed Sunday night. (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

Updated 10-22-18 4:36 p.m.

CULLMAN – Krystal in Cullman closed to the public temporarily at the end of the business day Sunday, but according to franchisee partner John Jones, a new location will be open in the city within a year.

Jones said that WAC Enterprises, the franchisee group which operates 33 Krystal locations, including the one that was at 1701 Second Ave. attached to the Jet-Pep station in Cullman, sent Circle K Stores, Inc., the new owner of the Jet-Pep, a letter 60 days ago informing it of WAC’s decision not to renew its lease.

Jones cited cleanliness at the gas station, parking and visibility as reasons WAC decided not to renew the lease. He said with the ownership change at Jet-Pep and the lease coming up for renewal, it was the perfect time to make a change.

“The smartest thing for us to do,” Jones said, “was to not renew our lease and find a property we are happy with.”

In fact, WAC had found a property it was very happy with: the site of the former Bojangles' Famous Chicken 'n Biscuits at 1821 Cherokee Ave. SW. Jones said that WAC was all set to sign a 20-year lease on the property and had even gone so far as to have an architect draw up plans for the new Krystal location, when the owners of the property sold it “at the last minute.” He said the new owners wanted more money for the lease than WAC wanted to spend.

As for Cullman Krystal employees, Jones said that they were informed Sunday that the store was closing. He said employees were told they can work at WAC’s other Krystal locations, including Athens, Priceville and Boaz.

“We are a family-oriented company and our employees are important to us,” Jones told The Tribune Monday.

WAC is continuing its search for a new location in the city.

“We are not leaving Cullman,” said Jones.

Mike Wood, Krystal's chief real estate officer, said in a statement to The Tribune, "After 20 years of operation in Cullman, Krystal closed on October 21. We intend to remain in this market and are actively seeking an alternate site for a new free-standing Krystal. Although this C-store location has served us well for years, we are investing in our properties to upgrade and build new in our core markets, such as Cullman. Our long-term plan is to be in Cullman in one of our new prototypes."

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