by: CHRISTOPHER TORRICK
There was supposed to be a meeting last night, but it was cancelled because the agenda hadn't been posted with proper notice time. Alpinians were on site and ready to meet, but they will have to gather again on October 4th, 2021.
This meeting had been discussed on social media for the last few weeks. The subject? A Alpine burger stand being replaced by "Jack In The Box". To say this subject is heating up the kitchen of our community is an understatement.
For Alpine residents, Fred's has been a go to when the taste buds had enough of the chain burgers. We all go to Fred's with our expectations. If your going through the drive - thru, you may be there a while but you know what's in the bag is fresh and handcrafted. If you go inside the chequered floor brings you back to a different time. The smells. The visits with neighbors and new friends. Oh! And the pickles!! C'mon. Who still puts a big bucket of pickles out for you to enjoy. Alpine's Fred's does.
So is there a demand for a 'Jacks' in our town? Maybe. At least feedback on the social channels would lead you to believe so. Complaints about our other fast food joints pile up for our options in Alpine along with those hankering for the signature Tacos and the 3AM cravings.
I have my doubts. Here's why. 'Jack's' was a staple in my college days as it was for many. The locations in the San Diego State area stayed busy 24/7 and I suspect they still do. Alpine is different. An example. Last night I went to get my wife a shake at Fred's and had totally forgotten it was closed. I headed down Alpine Blvd and noticed Alpine Taco Shop was jammed as I landed at Carl's Jr. It was a ghost town, and they wern't serving shakes. I finally ended up at McDonalds to get the shake.
This discussion has ignited conversation on social media about what Alpine needs. We as people can be a little demanding. Wait! Did I say that out loud? We have all sorts of ideas on what kind of resturants and things we want here, but do we always support it? If we don't support Fred's idea of the perfect burger then he will fail. As you probably know, most business fail in the first year and crazy ideas die more frequently than that. Just ask my wife. If she had a dollar for every time I explained to her why my idea of a 'free' movie theater was a brilliant idea, she could buy all of you a chocolate shake from Fred's. But I digress.
So why has it come to this? From what I understand the shopping center where Fred's is located was sold. The property owner has made a decision that a JITB would be a better use of the property than Fred's. I could be wrong, but I suspect that this has a lot more to do with dollar signs than anything else. I could be wrong but I'm guessing that this decision is being made out of town by people that don't live in Alpine and are looking at making more money with the property.
Isn't that the American way? Of course, but let me share a little story with you.
It was about 10 years ago that I had an opportunity to move back home to East County and take over a little non-profit community radio station. When I got here, what I heard on the radio station was everything you don't do with a radio station. After 30 years of radio experience, I conducted a blind perceptual study with 100 residents that could listen to our station with a FM radio. The end result was a long list of what Alpine didn't like about the local radio station choices, and what you wanted out of a local station. That was used as the foundation for what is now "Mountain Country 107.9".
We have to ask ourself, did the property owners do the same? Did they recieve feedback that Fred's was falling short and Alpine wanted a JITB? We don't know the answer to that but I suspect that Alpine will be showing up in droves to fight for what little local flair we have left when the meeting comes up on October 4th. While this meeting with the Design and Planning team is exactly that, residents see it as an opportunity to speak their mind about keeping things local. I suspect the property owner or their agents will be there and wont be able to avoid the voices of Alpine.
If you are in favor of seeing Fred's fight the good fight, it will take more than words and showing up at a meeting. It's going to take you ordering that Quarter Bacon Combo with the chocolate shake.
It's also going to require patience. Freshly prepared food isn't done in 90 seconds. Just ask your Mama! Prepare to wait in the drive through or at the counter for a meal that is made fresh for you.
I suspect Alpine will speak up loud and clear with their hard earned cash to support what they want and vice versa.
Thank you for supporting local, including our local non-profit radio station playing traditional country, classic country, and Texas Red Dirt country. We appreciate it more than you know.
Chris Torrick - Station Manager
6 Comments on this post:
I definitely prefer the small town burger shop to the likes of another fast food restaurant; however, I don't own that property. If I did and I could make more money by renting to a bigger chain, I probably would.
Sure way to trash up a town is to fill it with fast food restuarants. Yes, Fred's has been struggling like many small businesses. They worked hard and did a remodel and now they just wanna dump them. They need our support against the ugly corporations.
First off, Jack In The Box is just freaking nasty! Ppl who talk about “bringing jobs in”, Fred’s has been needing employees for a while now. So that is not even a piece of the issue. They want to be open 7 days a week but with no employees, how the heck is that possible? Second, the reason why ppl love Alpine so much is bc it is a unique small town that supports local businesses which separate us from bigger cities. These ppl that come and buy property out here and don’t even live in Alpine, don’t understand what we have and why we support each other. Yes, that man trying to sell to JITB is greedy. All he see’s is the money, not the community in it. He did the same thing in El Cajon but the buck stops here. Just watch.
I disagree with the post in support if Jack in the Box in Alpine. I support small business, which is what makes Alpine unique. We already have a McDonalds and a Carl's Junior amongst a plethora of other small businesses paying tax revenue and providing jobs. By adding another fast food chain, from a business conglomerate is what has been killing small business across the Nation. I'd prefer to eat from a place like Fred's, because I know the owner[s] actually care about their community and in return, provide a better quality of service as compared to fast food chain restaurant who will not share the same value.
While i love Freds, they were closed over half a year. Sometimes still they are not open. To portray the owner of the property as greedy is unfair, because they are successful business people. I still dont like the Smoke shops.. They are associated with drug paraphernaila and in a rural country town, really do not belong (if we are being folksy and small town people).. They make us look bad, but i would never petition to stop them from having their businesses here. Jack in the Box brings jobs, good tax revenue, and with over 10 Mexucan resturants, i cant see why another hamburger place would be such a shocking thing. I say Bring them in. I would also say, if there is a property owner out there who could compete with Freds monthly rent now, give them a break and let them stay if you are so traaditionally a small town and for the people.. I challenge you!
Great read and you are right on the mark. This owner owns many business properties in Alpine. He does not live in Alpine and is known by many locals as greedy. I support Fred's! Please check meeting date I believe it is October 4th not 7th. Thank you for coming to Alpine.