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Culver’s deal dead for now

New Richmond residents in search of ButterBurgers and Concrete Mixers will have to continue driving to Culver’s locations in Baldwin, Hudson or Stillwater.

The developer who hoped to open a Culver’s in New Richmond backed out of a land deal with the City of New Richmond and canceled loan applications.

Tom Koop of Burger Brothers LLC said problems with finances led to the deal falling through.

“The financial numbers we’re still looking over, and it just isn’t working out right now,” Koop said. “Some of our numbers we didn’t expect to be as high as they are. And it isn’t just the city; it’s all around.”

Koop did leave open the possibility of trying to restart the deal in the future, including potentially taking on a new partner.

“We’re still looking down the road at options with numbers and stuff,” Koop said. “It just basically came down to putting our performance together, and right now it doesn’t work. Some of our expenses were higher than we anticipated.”

When word got out in January 2013 about a Culver’s restaurant possibly opening in the City of New Richmond, it created a buzz in town. The eatery was slated to sit on land currently owned by the city across from Walmart alongside a newly built GrandStay Hotel and Suites. The hotel deal fell through as well, and the prime commercial land on the west side of South Knowles Avenue just across West Richmond Way from Walmart still sits empty with Maurices and Dollar Tree sitting well back from Knowles on Hamilton Avenue.

After the summer construction season came and went without Culver’s breaking ground, the buzz around town was that Culver’s may not come to town. When site plans for the restaurant were conditionally approved by the city’s Plan Commission and City Council in December, all appeared to be on track for a spring groundbreaking until this month’s news.

“I’m saddened by the news,” said New Richmond Mayor Fred Horne. “I know they had to do their due diligence, but it’s too bad that it couldn’t come to fruition. We’ve been counting on that corner and we’ve been telling people for so many months that it’s coming.”

Horne said city staff is now going back to lists it worked from previous to the Culver’s deal to lure a developer to the site, including some that expressed interest but had to be turned away because of the Culver’s deal.

City Administrator Mike Darrow pointed out that even though Burger Brothers LLC decided not to pursue a franchise here, Culver’s could still come to New Richmond through a different franchisee.

“We’re going to continue to work with other interested parties,” Darrow said. “It’s disappointing to us that there was a lot of time spent on this, but that’s what happens. We wish Burger Brothers all the best in their decision. We wish we could have gotten it past the finish line, but now we go back to the drawing board.”

Micheal Foley
Micheal Foley worked at RiverTown Multimedia from July 2013 to June 2015 as editor at the New Richmond News. 
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