For­mer Car­bon­ear Mary Brown’s fran­chisee starts over

The Compass - - News - BY CHRIS LEWIS editor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Car­bon­ear will soon be home to the first ever Chicken Fri­tou in New­found­land.

Ed Whe­lan has been in the restau­rant busi­ness for over 50 years, 44 of those be­ing with Mary Brown’s. How­ever, in midJan­uary of 2017, Mary Brown’s de­clined to re­new his fran­chise agree­ment, leav­ing Whe­lan with an empty build­ing. He was among the first Mary Browns fran­chisees in Canada.

Whe­lan said he’s been mak­ing the best of it, though, and is now pre­par­ing to open a new restau­rant in the build­ing — Chicken Fri­tou.

This will be the first Chicken Fri­tou lo­ca­tion in New­found­land, some­thing Whe­lan says he’s very proud of.

“Usu­ally, when a fran­chise like this comes to the prov­ince, they’re go­ing to come to one of the big cities like St. John’s,” said Whe­lan, speak­ing over the hus­tle and bus­tle of a new restau­rant. “But they de­cided to come here, to the beau­ti­ful, his­toric town of Car­bon­ear, and I per­son­ally couldn’t be hap­pier with that de­ci­sion. We’re very, very ex­cited to in­tro­duce this lovely restau­rant to the prov­ince.”

The Chicken Fri­tou fran­chise was founded in Que­bec in 1993, and Whe­lan says they cur­rently have around 240 lo­ca­tions scat­tered across Canada, in­clud­ing one newly built in Calgary.

Whe­lan and his com­pany be­gan pre­par­ing and ren­o­vat­ing the for­mer Mary Brown’s build­ing in Fe­bru­ary, and he says this next step in his ca­reer is some­thing he’s look­ing for­ward to. He ex­pects the new busi­ness will ben­e­fit the com­mu­nity.

“I’ve al­ways been a com­mu­ni­ty­minded man,” ex­plained Whe­lan. “We used to donate coleslaw to the United Church when we had Mary Brown’s here, and we’d al­ways give back to the com­mu­nity any way we can. We’ll con­tinue to do that, and any­thing we can, with Chicken Fri­tou.”

The clo­sure of Mary Brown’s im­pacted around 20 em­ploy­ees, but Whe­lan said that a new restau­rant in town is bound to pro­vide peo­ple with jobs, as would any new busi­ness.

Chicken Fri­tou is a fried chicken restau­rant, and Whe­lan told The Com­pass its menu is fairly sim­i­lar to that of Mary Brown’s or KFC. He said he feels as though it will bring back fond mem­o­ries to the res­i­dents of Car­bon­ear who would fre­quent Mary Brown’s.

How­ever, Whe­lan also told The Com­pass that he isn’t open­ing this restau­rant to stir any bad blood with other lo­cal chicken restau­rants.

“We’re not here to cause a fuss, we don’t want to hurt any­body else’s busi­ness,” ex­plained Whe­lan. “This is some­thing I’ve done my en­tire life, and want to con­tinue do­ing. I love it, and I hope the peo­ple of Car­bon­ear and ev­ery other com­mu­nity in the area is as ex­cited as I am about Chicken Fri­tou.”

The restau­rant, lo­cated on the turn to For­est Road from the Trans-Canada High­way, is in the fi­nal stages of prepa­ra­tion, and is look­ing at a sum­mer grand open­ing.

CHRIS LEWIS/THE COM­PASS

Har­bour Grace busi­ness­man Ed Whe­lan, one of the orig­i­nal Mary Brown’s fran­chisees in Canada, is now open­ing a new friend chicken restau­rant in Car­bon­ear.

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