Three new restaurant chains will be opening their first location in Farmington

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FARMINGTON — A number of new restaurants are preparing to open here, including a Chick-fill-A eatery that will hire nearly 100 employees in anticipation of its scheduled opening in late August.

A Carl’s Jr. restaurant and a Firehouse Subs restaurant also are scheduled to open here later this year, according to the owners of the businesses. The three businesses will be opening their first location in the city.

The Chick-fil-A restaurant at 4910 E. Main St. located in front of the Dick’s Sporting Goods store is scheduled to open on Aug. 25, according to co-owner Gary Smouse.

During a tour of the nearly completed restaurant today, contractors were applying the finishing touches on the building’s dining area and kitchen. Smouse said he received the certificate of occupancy for the building from the city of Farmington on Tuesday, paving the way for employee training to start around the second week of August.

The interior design theme was described by Smouse as the “Heritage” package, using gray slate tile and aluminum fixtures to give the restaurant an inviting and modern feel.

Smouse owns and operates the franchise along with his wife, Camille Smouse. Both graduated from Bloomfield High School. He said they were eager to move back to the area from Texas, where he worked in the corporate offices for the Target Corporation.

“It’s a family-owned business. Getting an opportunity to do that is a delight and a thrill,” Gary Smouse said.

The restaurant is looking at hiring about 100 full- and part-time employees. A career fair will be held Thursday at the Farmington Museum at Gateway Park for community members interested in applying for a position.

As part of the opening on Aug. 25, the first 100 people to start camping outside the restaurant at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug 24 will be registered to win a one-year supply of 52 weekly meals.

Smouse said the campers must remain in line for 24 hours to qualify for the meals. There will be entertainment and activities for those camping in line, and food will be served by the restaurant.

Dowling Enterprises, a Gallup-based company, is the franchise operator of the Carl’s Jr. restaurant under construction at 2300 E. Main St.

The Idaho-based Radix Construction Inc. is listed as the contractor for the project.

Jennifer Dowling, co-owner of Dowling Enterprises, said construction work started in early May on the restaurant, and she projects an opening date in late August for the nearly 3,000-square-foot building.

“We think the Farmington area will be a great expansion, a great market for Carl Jr.’s,” Dowling said.

The company has been operating a Carl’s Jr. restaurant in Gallup for about 10 years, and co-owners Shawn and Jennifer Dowling have been hunting for the right spot to open a location here. Carl’s Jr. will join Taco Bell and McDonald’s restaurants already operating at the intersection of East Main Street and North Tucker Avenue.

Dowling said Carl’s Jr. differentiates itself from other quick-service restaurants by offering “bigger, better” burgers and by making biscuits from scratch.

The general manager for the restaurant has been training in Gallup for about a month, and job notices were recently posted for hiring staff members. About 40 to 55 employees will be hired for the restaurant, Dowling said.

Darin Fitzgerald, owner of the Firehouse Subs franchise in Farmington, said he is seeking bids for a contractor to renovate a space in the San Juan Plaza at 3030 E. Main St. It will be located next to the Wingstop restaurant.

Fitzgerald hopes to start construction work in the next two weeks with an eye on opening the restaurant in October.

The sandwich restaurant chain opened its 1,000th store today, according to Fitzgerald. He also owns the Papa John's Pizza franchise in Farmington located in the San Juan Plaza.

Fitzgerald said it was the similarities between the two companies that caught his eye. He said the Papa John’s chain had about 1,000 locations when he opened his location.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.

If you go

What: Chick-fil-A career fair

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday. Information sessions start at the top of the hour. 

Where: Farmington Museum at Gateway Park, 3041 East Main St. in Farmington

More Info: Visit www.farmingtoncfajobs.com/

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