A battle has started in east Wichita. It was announced that Andy’s Frozen Custard would be taking over the space previously held by Dempsey’s Biscuit Co. in College Hill. This has been a plan that’s been in the works for over a year before places like Frost and Papa’s General Store were around according to franchisee Brian Cates.
Some residents in College Hill were not too pleased with the announcement of the national custard chain coming in and started an online petition to prevent the store from opening. I was asked to share the link if you’d like to look it over.
There’s no skin in the game for me. I’m not a resident of the neighborhood nor have I ever been. Let’s take a look at what we all know:
- The Andy’s Frozen Custard being constructed will not look like the other locations in Wichita. Cates received permission from the chain’s president to design a store that would fit the feel of College Hill. There will be no big bright digital sign like the other establishments, but there will be neon lights. What the end result looks like exactly, we don’t know.
- Andy’s Frozen Custard is a walk-up and drive-thru restaurant. At both Wichita locations, customers have to walk up to the counter to place their order or use the drive-thru. The planned College Hill version will have a big patio as well as a drive-thru.
- College Hill’s area is predominantly all local when it comes to restaurants. There are no corporate national chains in College Hill the size of Andy’s. The only other restaurant that could be found outside of Wichita is Il Vicino which was founded in New Mexico and has five locations there and Colorado. Then there’s Dempsey’s Burger Pub which originally started as an extension of a Lawrence location. But for the most part, College Hill is very local-centric.
- Andy’s Frozen Custard is a very family-friendly eatery. The big problem is at the moment other dessert spots like Frost, Papa’s General Store and No Bake Cafe currently all exist within walking distance. Is there room for all four places? An educated guess would likely say no so would one of the smaller locally owned establishments likely won’t make it in a crowded market. But that’s all a guess and there could be room for everyone to thrive; just look at north Broadway and the endless array of Mexican restaurants.
- A Facebook page was also started to rally residents in College Hill.
- The online petition states:
A national chain, regardless of its building architecture, brings an attitude of big city bustling life and inspires visions of neon lights and crowded drive thru lines. Precisely what the overwhelming majority of College Hill residents do not want. Andy’s is attempting to prey on the customers of small, local unique businesses built on the backs of College Hill residents and purists. If we begin to lose those types of business we begin to lose a critical component of such a unique neighborhood.
So, where do you stand on this? Is it fair for Andy’s Frozen Custard to enter College Hill? Should they move somewhere else? Are the residents of College Hill making a big deal about this or are they in their right to petition against Andy’s?
For now, Andy’s Frozen Custard is moving on as planned and hope to be open by May.