ELLSWORTH, Maine — With 31 states and seven international locations already on its list, a Texas-based hamburger restaurant is expected to open its first franchise in northern New England when a local construction project is completed this spring.
Fuddruckers, which lays claim to having the “world’s greatest hamburgers,” will be part of a new Tradewinds store that is expected to open on Route 1A in late April or early May, according to Tradewinds and city officials. The 9,500 square-foot building will include a Tim Hortons restaurant and will be anchored by a Tradewinds convenience store and gas station similar to other Tradewinds stores.
The Tradewinds company, owned by Chuck and Belinda Lawrence, also owns and operates supermarkets in Blue Hill and Milo. The new convenience store and gas station in Ellsworth will be owned and operated by Bonnie Tokas, who is manager of the Tradewinds supermarket in Blue Hill, with the Lawrences serving as landlords.
Chuck Lawrence said Wednesday that he sought out Fuddruckers to open a franchise in Maine. The company was initially skeptical of expanding to northern New England, he said, but they were quickly convinced after he showed them how much seasonal traffic goes by the location to and from Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park.
“It happened pretty quick,” Lawrence said. “I’ve been a fan of Fuddruckers for quite a while.”
One of the things he likes about the restaurant, he said, is the quality of their burgers and the fact that they can dress them up themselves with condiments and toppings at a fresh produce bar.
The Fuddruckers franchise will occupy 3,500 square feet inside the building, the Tim Hortons will occupy 2,000 square feet, and the convenience store will take up the remaining 4,500 square feet, he said. The convenience store will have a “Wave” frozen yogurt bar, similar to other Tradewinds locations, he said.
Lawrence added that he himself is a Dunkin’ Donuts fan, but he thinks bringing the first Tim Hortons franchise to Ellsworth will be a good business move. Dunkin’ Donuts already has two locations in Ellsworth — one at the Mill Mall and another inside Wal-Mart — and a third is under construction at the intersection of Myrick Street and Route 3, he said.
“Mainers like a choice,” he said.
Lawrence added, that, as part of the project, he and his wife donated a historic home on the property to the Ellsworth Historical Society earlier this month.
According to a prepared statement released by the historical society, the house — most recently occupied by Dr. Richard Whitney — is a circa 1800 Adams Federal Style home that was the home of Mary Hopkins Chamberlain, one of the first settlers of Ellsworth.
The Tradewinds project is one of several recent or ongoing commercial construction projects in the city.
Besides the Dunkin’ Donuts project on Route 3, U.S. Cellular is completing construction of a new store in front of the Hannaford supermarket on High Street, Maine Department of Motor Vehicles has built and opened a new location on School Street (next to its former location), Eastern Mold Remediation is building a new office at the intersection of Route 1A and Nicolin Road, and Global Beverage Warehouse is building a new store at the corner of Route 3 and Beechland Road.