By Tony Parra and David Irvin
Burger King restaurants in Clovis, Portales and Roswell shut down Wednesday in a corporate move that has left many people befuddled.
The Clovis Burger King located on Prince Street across from North Plains Mall was located near some of the heaviest traffic in the city.
Phil Reiser, manger at the Prince Street Burger King until it closed, said the decision was made by Burger King Corporation in Miami. Reiser didn’t hear about the closing until 9:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, when management walked in and told him to close shop.
Reiser has been the manager at the Prince Street store for about six months, but he didn’t have any idea why the stores were shut down. He said the Roswell store didn’t have a very good location, but his store was less than 10 years old and was doing very well on Prince Street.
William Hoffman, president and chief executive officer of the management company for the restaurants, Trigild International of San Diego, Calif., said the decision was handled exclusively by the owner of Melodie Corporation, in this case, Burger King Corporation.
Melodie Marnell owned Burger King locations in Clovis, Portales and Roswell through her Melodie Corporation until Burger King purchased her ownership share in Melodie Corporation in January of 2004. Since then they have contracted with Trigild International to manage the three locations.
“I was shocked that they shut those two down (in Clovis and Portales), to be honest with you,” Marnell said. “Both of those buildings are pretty new and are very well located.”
Last week, Martin Giardina, chief operations officer for Trigild International, said the reason for the closings is to place Burger King restaurants in new locations in Clovis and Portales.
However, in Sunday’s Roswell Daily Record Giardina was quoted as saying the Clovis and Portales stores would be renovated, not moved.
Giardina also said the corporation decided to close the stores now so that they could begin a search for someone who would be willing to buy the franchise locations.
“Those who have Burger King experience can come back for their jobs once the new stores open,” Giardina said last week.
Neither Giardina nor officials with Burger King could be reached for additional comment on Monday.
On Wednesday, motorists who drove by the Portales Burger King were a bit shocked at the previously unannounced closing.
Betty Moore parked her vehicle and was about to enter the restaurant when she found out it was closed. For Moore, who lives more than 20 miles south of Portales, it meant driving back to her home without one of her favorite meals.
“I eat here a lot,” Moore said. “It’s a good place to eat at. I was surprised it was closed. I was going to get a Whopper, but I guess now I’ll just drive home.”
• CNJ Staff Writer David Irvin contributed to this story.