The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

December 22, 2012

Wally Kennedy: Development in works at busy corner on Range Line

By Wally Kennedy
Globe Staff Writer

JOPLIN, Mo. — Expect ground to be broken next month on a small but important new shopping center at the northeast corner of Seventh Street and Range Line Road.

The shopping center will be built where Grand Fortuna stands today. The site will include a sliver of property that the Missouri Department of Transportation is clearing from its rolls.

What makes this shopping center important are the tenants. There are three of them. Kay Jewelers, which had a storefront inside of Northpark Mall, is returning to Joplin and will have a shop there. New to town will be Chipotle Mexican Grill and The Mattress Firm.

The really big news here is the Chipotle Mexican Grill. I did not know much about the history of this company, so I checked out their website: www.chipotle.com.

Chipotle was started in 1993 by Steve Ells in a former Dolly Madison Ice Cream Shop in Denver, near the University of Colorado campus. Ells borrowed $85,000 from his parents to get started. Ells calculated the store would need to sell 107 burritos per day to be profitable. After one month, the restaurant was selling more than 1,000 burritos a day.

His inspiration was a tacqueria he visited in San Francisco. What inspired him was how simple but effective the model was at preparing fresh food — burritos, tacos and salads — with ingredients that the customer chose.

Soon, one Chipotle led to another. Now, there are more than 1,300 restaurants in the United States, England, Canada and France that employ more than 31,000 people.

The interesting thing about Ells is that he has taken a stand against using meat from  factory farms, also known as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). He took that stand after learning an estimated 70 percent of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. are being fed to animals on factory farms.

Seven years after starting his company, Ells was using only naturally raised pork. By 2002, 100 percent of his chicken would be naturally raised. The same was achieved for beef in 2007. Today, Chipotle serves more naturally raised meat than any other restaurant chain.

The use of organic ingredients and naturally raised meat has become part of the company’s mission statement. It’s called “Food with Integrity.’’ The company says it supports and sustains “family farmers who respect the land and the animals in their care,’’ and that whenever possible the company uses meat from animals raised without the use of antibiotics or added hormones.

Chipotle, by the way, is the Mexican Spanish name for a smoked and dried jalapeño chili pepper.

The shopping center is being developed by Quattro Development, of Chicago. David Glenn, with the Glenn Commercial Group, handled the real estate transaction.

ALSO ON RANGE LINE

A spokeswoman for Five Guys Hamburgers in Columbia told me last week that the restaurant chain plans to open a storefront on Range Line Road.

Where the restaurant will be is not being revealed at this time. They hope to open the restaurant sometime in 2013.

If you think a Chipotle Mexican Grill coming to town is a big deal, you should talk to the fans of Five Guys hamburgers. They are fanatics.

If you have news about something that’s happening on Range Line Road or Main Street, call 623-3480, ext. 7250; or send an email to wkennedy@joplinglobe.com; or send a fax to Wally Kennedy at 623-8598.