Covington could soon be getting a fifth Waffle House, much to the chagrin of residents and even a fellow Waffle House employee.
Covington Senior Planner Scott Gaither said Waffle House had a pre-design meeting with city officials Tuesday regarding preliminary plans to build a store on Ga. Highway 142, on the vacant lot in between Sigman Veterinary Clinic and Jameson Inn. Gaither said Waffle House has not closed on the property.
Waffle House Real Estate Representative Sanford McAllister confirmed the company is looking at the site, but that the site has not been purchased. He declined to give further details.
“It’s still up in the air; we’re in the study phase,” McAllister said Thursday. “I’d be happy to talk to you more in January.”
The site is about one acre in size and is owned by Charter Bank, which originally purchased failed McIntosh Bank’s assets in early 2010.
The proposed location is about .65 miles from anotherWaffle House location at the intersection of Ga. 142 and U.S. Highway 278. Other stores are in the Food Depot shopping center on U.S. 278, on the Covington ByPass Road and on Alcovy Road.
“I’m really surprised. They had talked about a store off Highway 11,” said a local employee. “No, don’t think we need a fifth store. Closer to Social Circle would be fine, but the, way things are, I don’t believe we need a fifth store here.”
The employee said the stores have done well, except for the Alcovy Road one which “has always been a loner.”
When asked if the store at Ga. 142 and U.S. 278, which has suffered during recent construction, could be replaced, the employee said it’s possible noting that the Salem Road location has recently closed so that it could rebuilt around the corner.
“When they move a Waffle House, they’re looking at how easy or how accessible it is to get in and out,” the employee said.
On the other hand, the property could be purchased now but a store might not follow for a few years.
“Sometimes Waffle House buys property years in advance and they may sit on it for a while. They could be looking years ahead of time. As far as being built, it could be built soon or five to six years in the future,” the employee said.
Residents weren’t shy about sharing their feelings on the potential for a fifth Waffle House in Covington; 47 comments were left on The Covington News’ Facebook wall within an hour and 40 minutes of the initial post. Nearly all of the posts were advocating against another Waffle House.
“Why do we need the same restaurants all over town? It is not too hard to drive to the corner of 142 and 278, Alcovy Rd or even 278 and Turner Lake. Come on,” said Kathy Skinner. “I am all for putting people to work, but bring in new venues not more and more of the same as they have with McD's and Wendy's. How about a Denny's, Cracker Barrel, or IHOP?”
“Another Waffle House? Give me a break! Why can't Covington get decent places to eat or shop?” Tasha Haley Harris said.