Tribune-Courier News Reporter
Construction on Benton’s long-anticipated Sonic Drive-in has begun and franchise owner David Henson, of Benton, said the fast-food chain should be up and running by mid-January.
The Benton Sonic location is across from Dairy Queen on Main Street and Henson said construction could take as little as 75 days to complete.
“Normal construction is around 60-90 days,” he said. “But we’re not going to rush it so it’ll be about 75 days.”
Henson said Pinnacle, Inc., has been chosen as the contractor for the project and while some permits have yet to be submitted, he is anxious to see the building take shape in upcoming weeks.
“We started moving the dirt and that’s where we’re at right now, but it’s very exciting,” he said.
Interest in the Sonic has been apparent in the community and Henson said he’s already received several employee applications.
“During the start up we’ll have 50 to 60 employees, but once the initial start up is finished we’ll have 35 to 40 permanent jobs.”
Henson owns David Henson Used Cars in Benton and his wife, and franchisee partner, Sandy retired from the Marshall County Board of Education. The pair, he said, decided to open up a franchise to be able to work on something together.
“We wanted to do a franchise ourselves so we could really get a chance to work together,” he said. “We looked at several franchise options, but Sonic was a good fit for us. We agreed with a lot of the principles they run the businesses on.”
Henson said Sonic’s corporate staff would come in for the opening with a support crew and to help with training.
Jason Acock, assistant manager of corporate communications for Sonic, said the organization will provide a team of training experts as part of its opening support for all new drive-ins.
“Our support staff with training happens before, during and after the opening,” Acock said.
Henson said he is looking forward to the help from Sonic’s start-up staff and is happy construction is underway.
He said it was an exciting time, especially as the Benton Sonic Drive-in’s grand opening will arrive shortly after the first of the new year.