On the Border opens in Jonesboro, $1 million-plus investment adds 150 service sector jobs

by Michael Wilkey ([email protected]) 140 views 

The weather was bad outside, but local residents filled Jonesboro’s newest restaurant Monday morning. The restaurant, On the Border, on Red Wolf Boulevard was jam-packed around 10:30 a.m. after the doors opened.

The rain in Jonesboro forced officials to do the ribbon cutting inside the restaurant. However, Erik Skinner, regional director for the restaurant chain, said the project moved quickly from construction to finish with 150 new employees. Skinner said construction began in July 2015, with crews working to build the restaurant.

Restaurant officials, along with area developer Haag Brown Commercial, announced plans in May to build the more than $1 million restaurant on a 1.14-acre plot of land at the corner of Red Wolf and Fairview. The building permit for the project was $1 million, which doesn’t include furniture, fixtures and equipment.

Over a five-week period this fall, the Dallas-based company hosted a series of job fairs at the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce to hire people. Skinner said chamber officials were “extremely accommodating” in helping with the hiring.

On Friday, Tom Beyer with North Carolina-based PR firm DFPR said the Jonesboro restaurant would be the fifth On the Border restaurant in the state with restaurants already in Little Rock, Sherwood, Hot Springs and Rogers. The work on a sixth restaurant in Conway is ongoing, Skinner said.

The company has 7,750 employees nationwide, with about 375 in Arkansas, Beyer said. As for revenues, Beyer said the company is privately traded and thus, “we do not disclose revenue numbers.” On the Border is owned by Atlanta-based Argonne Capital, which has a restaurant portfolio of more than 750 restaurants and 22,000 employees worldwide. Other restaurants owned by Argonne include IHOP and Krystal.

As for the Jonesboro restaurant, Skinner said he is hopeful the restaurant can draw customers from a variety of places. He said they plan to draw from traffic on U.S. 63, as well as ASU students and people visiting the campus. Also, the restaurant will have a business catering service with a full menu for events, Skinner said.

The restaurant is one of about a dozen restaurants located on Red Wolf Boulevard, ranging from Longhorn Steakhouse and Red Lobster to Sumo (a Japanese restaurant) and Panera Bread. Skinner said he believes his restaurant will stand out.

“It will be a scratch kitchen with lots of Mexican flair,” Skinner said.

The opening of the restaurant also brought out Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin. Perrin said the restaurant will provide another retail opportunity for the city.

“They will be a drawing card, by the name alone,” Perrin said of the national restaurant chain. “I eat a lot at the Hot Springs restaurant. The food is always good and the service has been great.”