By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium
ST. JOSEPH — The KFC restaurant that has served St. Joseph residents for 40 years closed Tuesday.
KFC franchise representative Richard Alford said the last day of operations for the KFC at 1666 Hilltop Road was Monday night. Workers began packing and clearing out the business’ equipment Tuesday morning.
Alford said there was nothing nefarious about the closure, as the decision was made for plans to relocate elsewhere in St. Joseph.
“We’ve remodeled that facility several times over the past few decades,” Alford said. “Instead of undergoing another remodel on the current building, we felt it best to focus our future investment efforts on building a new state-of the art, KFC restaurant in St. Joseph in the future.”
The KFC building was originally built in 1976 at Hilltop Road and Cleveland Avenue.
“It’s 40 years old and it’s been through four remodels,” Alford said. “We’re at the beginning of a remodeling cycle. We do them every 10 years. Instead of remodeling the current building, we’re going to relocate because at some point you just have to rebuild.”
Alford said there was no timeline or a planned location to be released yet.
All St. Joseph KFC employees will be retained and offered positions at neighboring KFC restaurants, Alford said. The KFC in Benton Township at 1957 M-139, will remain open and is one of the sites accepting these employees.
William F. Alford Co. Inc., is the franchisee in St. Joseph, in addition to 17 other KFC restaurants throughout Michigan and Indiana.
Other Michigan KFC restaurants owned by the same franchisee includes Benton Harbor, Niles, Three Rivers, Sturgis, Coldwater, Otsego, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Hastings, Albion and Charlotte. In Indiana, the franchisee owns KFC restaurants in Granger and South Bend.
According to KFC Corp.’s website, the company is based in Louisville, Ky., and is the world’s largest chicken restaurant chain with more than 18,000 KFC outlets in more than 115 countries.
(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Jan. 26, 2016)