The wait is over.
After years of speculation, rumours, whining and campaigning, Tim Hortons has selected a potential site to bring its first franchise to Drumheller.
John Barber, director of real estate development for Western Canada, for TDL Group, confirmed with The Mail the company has selected a site on Highway 9 in Drumheller, and is working towards opening in the near future. Currently there has been no development permit taken out. The company has simply identified a parcel.
“We have identified a couple of locations, and they are working extremely hard on one of them right now, and if everything goes down the garden path in the right direction, and proper timing, we should have something in Drumheller in 2011,” said Mr. Barber. “We have it in our budget to open a store in Drumheller in 2011.”
Barber said the company corporately handles the store, but they are franchised out. He was not in the position to reveal the franchisee. He says they have explored markets before without having an owner in place.
“We went into Stettler without a so-called franchisee in place. We thought the market was strong enough, and that we would be able to find a franchisee in time to open the store,” said Barber.
Tim Hortons was founded in 1964 by the former Toronto Maple Leaf along with a partner. At the time of Horton's untimely death in a car accident in 1974, there were 40 stores. Today there are 3,596 system wide restaurants with 3,029 in Canada and 567 in the U.S. There is a store in Kandahar, Afghanistan on a military base.
Barber said Tim Hortons has been exploring positioning an outlet in Drumheller for quite some time, and this is not the first site identified.
“It is a market that we should have been in a little bit sooner than this,” he said. “We looked at two or three places in Drumheller, but when we wanted to do it, the development costs (were too high)–not because of Drumheller as a town– but the lack of trades because of the economy running so strong for a while.”
“We’ll be looking forward to having something there and hopefully the people will support it when the store opens,” said Barber.