No clear answer if Ben's and Enzo's will be part of the new Concord Towne Center

0

By: Marshall V. King
mking@flavor574.com

The food vendors at Concord Mall are hoping that when it comes to being part of a new development, no news is good news.

Will Enzo’s Pizza, and Ben’s Soft Pretzels be part of the new outdoor mall called Concord Towne Center that a developer says will come? It’s so early in the process, no one really knows.

Jerry Livengood, manager of Enzo’s, said it seems like everything’s good with the shop and its future, but he’s not sure.

“We have just as much information as everybody else, probably less,” said Brian Krider, co-owner of Ben’s, whose first location was at Concord Mall.

“I only know what I’ve seen in the media,” said Rhonda Potucek, owner of Rhonda’s Cake Cottage, who said she doesn’t know what will happen to her bake shop if the new development happens.

There’s also a Subway and Kami’s, serving some hot food items. Keith Stark, the commercial real estate broker whose firm is planning the redevelopment, said he wants more variety than a Subway and pizza by the slice restaurant. He’d love to see sit-down casual and quick service restaurants in the mix. “Maybe even some fast food, I don’t know,” he said by phone Thursday.

He said he hopes food vendors that are at the mall will continue if they wish to. “Not only do we hope to maintain the existing food vendors, but expand on that quite a bit,” Stark said.

For Ben’s, Concord Mall has some sentimental attachment since the first Ben’s stand opened there (other than the one in Shipshewana on which the new company was based). “That’s the starting point. It still is a great location,” Krider said.

The company has no plans to move out and will review the plans soon. “It’s great for the community if they can make it happen,” he said of the redevelopment.

Ben’s hasn’t been in outdoor mall settings. “We are a walk-through, walk-by impulse purchase,” Krider said. But they are open to change and are looking at text or online ordering. The company is planning a new location in Elkhart County in 2017, he said.

In a twist, Ben’s hired Bob Thatcher as director of real estate and franchise development. Thatcher was previously manager of Concord Mall before the new ownership.

Marshall V. King is food columnist for Flavor 574 and community editor for The Elkhart Truth. You can reach him at 574-296-5805, mking@flavor574.com, and on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
(Visited 23 times, 1 visits today)