KINGMAN - Despite lingering rumors to the contrary, Five Guys Burgers and Fries is still moving to Kingman.
"We are definitely coming to town," said Art Ruanova, regional director of operations for the business. "We are building the restaurant as we speak and are very excited about opening in Kingman. Everything is on track as far as we're concerned."
Ruanova, who oversees Five Guys restaurants in nine counties in Arizona, said the local eatery is expected to open the second week in September. It will measure 2,500 square feet and initially hire 45 employees to serve its specialty hamburgers, hand-cut fries and hot dogs.
Currently, there are 18 Five Guys in Phoenix, five in Tucson and one each in Flagstaff, Yuma and Prescott. Ruanova said the next restaurant will be located in Lake Havasu City, and the company is considering one in Bullhead City.
But for now, construction in Kingman is on the company's radar.
"Kingman is a great place to have a fast food restaurant like ours," said Ruanova. " I have friends who own other restaurants there, and from what I hear, they're doing well.
"Our restaurant is different from what's there already, because you can build a hamburger any way you want it.
Kingman is ready for that, and I think this restaurant will be a huge success for us."
Gary Jeppson, director of development services for the city of Kingman, said the general contractor, DG Fenn Construction in Phoenix, picked up its building permit July 19 to be able to work on the restaurant.
Jeppson said there have been no problems with the contractor or the company and he is expecting construction to proceed as planned.
The prime location on Stockton Hill Road is situated between Walgreens and McDonald's.
Chipotle is located on the north side of the building and Five Guys will take up about 2,500 square feet on the south side. The building once housed Blockbuster Video but has been vacant several years.
Gary Langerfeld, director of marketing for DG Fenn, said Chipotle Mexican Grill opened in June and is keeping busy.
"The store is exceeding expectations," said Langerfeld. "Chipotle chose Kingman because it fit the company's profile for a good location. They feel Kingman is an up-and-coming place and traffic on Stockton Hill Road is steady.
"It was a natural choice."
Richard Hamilton, owner of H&H Development in Kingman, said the remaining 1,200 square feet of store space between Chipotle and Five Guys has already been claimed. Hamilton said ice cream chain Baskin Robbins has signed a letter of intent for the location.
"Nothing has changed from what was announced before," said Hamilton.
"Rumors about what will and what won't be there have run rampant since we started work on this project. But Five Guys is going in. That's what we've always said and that's how it still remains."
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