Harker Heights location still being discussed

By Mason Lerner

Killeen Daily Herald

Bell County and Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers are growing together.

The Kansas-based burger chain will break ground in Killeen in August and has November targeted for the grand opening. And that might only be the beginning.

Texas native and current Kansas resident Keith Alter leads an investment group that bought the franchise rights to Freddy's in a 14-county area that includes Bryan, Waco, Temple and Killeen.

"We opened our first store in Bryan a month ago, and our reception has been better than expected," said Alter.

Freddy's was inspired by World War II veteran Freddy Simon. His two sons, Bill and Randy, teamed up with restaurateur Scott Redler to open the first Freddy's in Wichita, Kan., in 2002 before franchising in 2004. The nostalgia-themed restaurant draws heavily on the life of its namesake.

"Freddy's is a concept that is very much in tune with small-town values," said Alter. "The decor and concept draws from the post-World War II values of the Greatest Generation. It's a very nostalgic look at what life was like during that period of American culture."

Alter has big plans for Freddy's in Central Texas. He already has a location picked out in Harker Heights if the Killeen location prospers.

"We already have a piece of ground in Harker Heights," he said. "If the Clear Creek store takes off, Harker Heights might not be far behind."

If everything goes according to plan, Alter hopes to open eight to 10 locations in Central Texas.

"It's safe to say it's a substantial commitment to build multiple locations," Alter said. "We did our homework. We looked at the cities in Central Texas and thought they were a real sweet spot for the Freddy's concept."

Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce President Bill Kozlik thinks Alter's investment is a testament to the fact that Central Texas's growth is no longer a secret.

"All the news now, the growth pattern and the income level in this area are being noticed," Kozlik said. "People are seeing this is the place to come."

"It's really great," Kozlik said. "Not just for Killeen, but for the whole area."

He was pleased to hear about a possible Harker Heights expansion.

"We're very excited anytime we get a new venture," he said. "We have enough people in the area to support these businesses, and investors see that."

Contact Mason Lerner at mlerner@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7567.

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