Culvers Carves Out 54th Street Site

August 8, 2002
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WYOMING — Dairy treats and ButterBurgers are coming to the region for the first time, as a new Culver’s Frozen Custard Restaurant is going up at 245 54th St. SW in Wyoming.

The 4,700-square-foot, blue-and-white building is being built on a two-acre site just east of U.S. 131. The restaurant will seat about 100 diners, will also have a drive-thru for pick-up orders, and should be serving by late this year or early next year.

The Haman Brothers, Wisconsin developers, bought the property about a month ago and are the franchisee for the new Culver’s. They own two Culver’s in Wisconsin. Bart Bresciano will operate the 54th St. restaurant.

Culver’s has restaurants in 180 locations in 11 Midwest states. The Wyoming eatery will be the fourth for Michigan, joining those in Marquette, Traverse City and Kalamazoo as the state’s only Culver’s locations.

“West Michigan has a lot in common with Wisconsin, the same kind of makeup of folks,” said Case Reimus, a retail specialist with Grubb & Ellis/Paramount Properties, the commercial real estate firm that brokered the sale.

“It’s an excellent concept. It’s a good, clean, nice, upscale operation,” he added. “The one in Kalamazoo does extremely well.”

Reimus told the Business Journal that the Haman Brothers contacted Paramount about a site for their Culver’s because they were aware of the firm’s work in bringing retail to the area. Paramount, which has a retail staff of seven brokers headed by Bill Bussey, has had a number of recent successes in finding space for new retail and restaurants, a list that includes IHOP, Krispy Kreme and Bennigan’s.

“We have the ability to do research and the sophisticated tools to satisfy national franchisers who look for that type of expertise,” said Reimus.

Culver’s Frozen Custard is a family-owned operation and franchiser. The first Culver’s opened in Sauk City, Wis., in 1984. Before that debut, the Culver family operated restaurants for three decades.

The restaurants have to seat from 98 to 118 customers and be on a site that has at least 1.2 acres of land.

A franchisee can invest from $350,000 to $2 million in a Culver’s, a figure that is largely dependent on whether the site and equipment are leased or if the property is purchased outright. Of that investment, $50,000 gives a franchisee the right to use the Culver name and trademark. Two percent of the restaurant’s monthly net sales go into an advertising fund and another 1 percent goes to neighborhood marketing efforts.

The Wyoming Culver’s may not be the only one coming to the region, as frozen custard and ButterBurgers may soon be served in other area cities.

“This is exciting and you’ll be seeing many more of these coming our way,” said Reimus. “This is a good concept.” 

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