COPPERAS COVE — The closing of one of two Copperas Cove chain-franchised, casual, sit-down restaurants should not affect the city’s ability to attract more businesses, two city officials said Tuesday.
“We don’t like to have any business close down,” said Polo Enriquez, Cove Economic Development Corporation executive director. “There are as many reasons as there are restaurants for closing, and I don’t know why Casa Ole closed down.”
One thing for sure is that it was not the area’s economy, said Betty Price, Cove Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Bureau president.
The area has experienced a lot of growth and increasing sales tax figures during the past several months. Stores near Casa Ole in the Five Hills shopping center are constantly opening.
“It may have nothing at all to do with (the city); it may be a totally unrelated business decision,” Enriquez said. “There are so many factors involved, but I do believe the restaurant business is very competitive.”
Casa Ole’s closing leaves Applebees, multiple fast-food chains and numerous mom-and-pop eateries in the city. Enriquez said the closure isn’t a reflection on what type of businesses Cove wants to locate in the city. It shouldn’t affect similar chains from locating in places like Five Hills and along U.S. Highway 190.
According to the Coryell Central Tax Appraisal District, the property is appraised for tax purposes at about $800,000. The lot is about 1 acre, and the building is about 4,402 square feet.
On Tuesday, crews took down the eatery’s signs and removed items from inside the restaurant. The Houston-based chain, which boasts more than 45 locations on its website, declined to comment about the closure Tuesday.
Price and Enriquez said the building probably won’t stay vacant for long because of its location on Constitution Drive and U.S. Highway 190.
“It is definitely a prime location,” Price said. “It has more than ample parking. It is easy to access with multiple driveways and it has lots of highway frontage, which restaurants like.”
Despite not wanting to lose the restaurant, the chamber and the Cove EDC will look forward to working with the property manager to help fine a new tenant for the building, Price and Enriquez said.
“As soon as we have information with who will be marketing the building (we will work with them),” Enriquez said. “Personally, I don’t like empty buildings anywhere, but I think the building is too well positioned to be vacant for very long.”