By William Holloman
The newest business to open its doors here is Hardee’s. The new eatery opened on Monday, July 2, just as the sun was giving a welcome to the new day, and saw a big turnout from town officials and residents.
The 3,162 square-foot operation located on NC Highway 55, just west of town, near the site of the former Southern Belle Restaurant, provides parking for 43 vehicles, and semi trucks and trailers.
The nearby Highway 55/US 117 corridor is destined to soon become an interstate highway.
Town officials have already expressed gratitude at the coming of the international food chain business, which employs 59. Mount Olive resident Gloria Williams is the manager. Business officials said all of the employees are local, or within 10 minutes’ drive of the restaurant location.
Corporate officials, local leadership, chamber of commerce representatives, and residents all celebrated the event.
Bodelie-Noel Chief Executive Officer Bobby Boddie said it is one of 10 new restaurants the franchise tries to open each year. “We have always had good results in hometown communities,” said Boddie.
The Hardee’s CEO said the decision to locate here had a lot to do with the projected growth of the area and the University of Mount Olive’s presence. He said he looks forward to the expected growth and serving the growing community.
Mount Olive Mayor Joe Scott called the opening the international chain restaurant “just the beginning of future growth for the area.
“This is important. Anytime a new business comes here and provides new jobs, it is important,” said Mayor Scott. “I was really impressed to see the level of management they have here at their ribbon cutting and grand opening. We have worked with them since the early stages, and they are a welcomed addition to our community.”
He said the opening of the new eatery culminates about a year of work with local officials.