A Sonic boom of anticipation: Mayor says drive-in deal done

By Bobby Bryant, Editor, editor@newsandpress.net

Is Darlington about to land a Sonic drive-in fast-food franchise?

Mayor Gloria Hines says yes. Sonic says . . . Wouldn’t that be great if it happened?

At the end of an Oct. 29 meeting of officials representing virtually all of the county’s governing boards and councils, Hines made an impromptu announcement: Darlington, she said, had landed its first Sonic franchise.

Asked for details, Hines said the franchise would be built on property off U.S. 52, the same land now occupied by a now-defunct Huddle House. The site is almost next door to a McDonald’s. Hines indicated that the property has already been sold to Sonic or a company representing Sonic.

Darlington City Council member Carolyn Bruce said she had no personal involvement in any discussions about the city getting a Sonic, but said it would be welcome news. “I think people will be glad to get it. I think it’s going to mean some excitement for the city and it’s going to generate some jobs.”

Darlington planning director Lisa Chalian-Rock said that city officials have had discussions with Sonic as well as other businesses, but said she could not comment about any plans Sonic might have for a Darlington restaurant.

Sonic’s media-relations department was asked if it would confirm, or offer details about, plans for a franchise here.

The company sent the News & Press this statement, attributed to Johnny Jones, Sonic’s vice president of development and construction:

“At this time, Sonic Drive-In does not have confirmed plans to open a new location in Darlington, S.C.

“However, we are constantly evaluating opportunities to expand in new markets to meet consumer demand, and our goal is to have a Sonic Drive-In convenient to all customers. We think Darlington would make a great market for Sonic.”
Sonic says it has 3,600 restaurants in 45 states in the United States. Florence and Hartsville both have Sonic restaurants.

Author: Duane Childers

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