Global restaurant chain Slim Chickens purchases new corporate headquarters in Fayetteville

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 7,630 views 

Slim Chickens will relocate ad expand its Fayetteville headquarters to this building at 234 E. Millsap Road in Fayetteville.

In its 20th anniversary year, global restaurant chain Slim Chickens of Fayetteville is on the move. Not to worry, however. The growing company is not planning an exit from Northwest Arkansas.

CEO and co-founder Tom Gordon confirms to the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal that the company has purchased the 35,700-square-foot building at 234 E. Millsap Road and will relocate and expand its Northwest Arkansas headquarters.

“We need more space than we have now at our current address,” Gordon said.

Washington County property records show Slim Chickens paid $6.4 million for the four-story office building ($179 per square foot). They’ll relocate from a 10,000-square-foot building at 1088 E. Millsap Road across College Avenue.

David Erstine with commercial real estate firm CBRE in Fayetteville brokered the deal. Bearden Millsap Property LLC of Fort Smith, led by Mike Bearden, paid $5.75 million for the building in 2014 and was the previous owner.

Gordon said Slim Chickens has about 50 corporate employees in Northwest Arkansas and another 20 who work remotely around the country and drop “in and out” of the region.

“We need to have a great space for our people and a showcase office for those who visit us in Northwest Arkansas,” he said. “It was time to move, and Erstine did a great job putting this deal together. It’s a good fit.”

Tom Gordon

Jerry Brewer built 234 East Millsap in 1995 as a corporate headquarters for Staffmark, a company he founded. It has been leased to several tenants through the years, including Tyson Foods, financial services firm Northwestern Mutual and Kutak Rock law firm.

“We will lease some of the space, but we will occupy over half of that building, for sure,” Gordon said.

Northwestern Mutual has a lease on the first floor through the end of the year. Kutak Rock, a national firm based in Omaha, Neb., vacated the top three floors earlier this year to be the lead tenant in a new 36,000-square-foot office building at 1277 E. Joyce Boulevard near Procter & Gamble’s Fayetteville office.

Gordon said renovations to the Millsap building will continue throughout the summer. He would like to complete the office relocation before the end of the year.

Prominent exterior signage signifying the company’s presence is still up in the air.

“I want people to find the restaurants, not necessarily the offices,” Gordon joked. “We’re still discussing that.”

As for the existing headquarters at 1088 E. Millsap, Gordon said the company would retain ownership there and find a new lease tenant.

Gordon and Greg Smart co-founded Slim Chickens in 2003 and started franchising a decade later. In July 2019, the growth potential attracted investment from 10 Point Capital, an Atlanta-based private equity firm that also backs Walk-On’s and Tropical Smoothie Cafe.

More than 200 Slim Chickens locations are now open in 32 U.S. states and the United Kingdom. Gordon said 23 units are planned to open the rest of the year, pushing the total close to 250 stores.

“[In 2024] we’ll target another 80 new restaurants,” he said. “Some of those in the U.S. and several in the UK. We have 43 over there now. Our pipeline is strong, and operators and franchisees are bullish about the brand.”