Small-town feel, big-town following - The Explorer: Business

Small-town feel, big-town following

Culver’s brings taste of the Midwest here

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Posted: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 4:05 am

In 1984, Culver’s opened its first restaurant in Sauk City, Wisc. Though Kyle Kolsrud lived there at the time, he later moved to Phoenix to work in the IT department at American Express.

Now, 20-something years later, Kolsrud and Culver’s have come together now that Kolsrud has opened one of the two Culver’s restaurants in Tucson, at 6905 N. Thornydale Road, just south of Ina Road.

Kolsrud’s sister still lives in Wisconsin and lives near a Culver’s. It’s the one eatery Kyle is sure to stop at whenever he visits.

“I went there and ate there all the time – any chance I could get,” Kolsrud recalled. “I thought, ‘Oh man, if I could just get one out here, that would be fantastic.’”

Wanting a change from “Corporate America,” Kolsrud decided to change his career.

“It had kind of been a personal dream of mine to own my own business and run it. This made that happen,” he said.

Kolsrud doesn’t feel alone in his thoughts of wanting to bring the Midwest franchise out West to the northwest side of the Old Pueblo.

“I can’t tell you how many people have hugged me and said, ‘Oh thank you for bringing a Culver’s out here. I can only get it twice a year when I go back home.’”

The small-town business mentality that the establishment brings is one that limits owners to own two restaurants. This allows them to stay focused with a local approach to how they operate their restaurant.

Tucson currently has two locations, and Kolsrud is looking at the possibility of opening a third. But he doesn’t want to get people’s hopes up as to location until the final details are nailed down.

In opening another location, Kolsrud will employ another 60 employees to run and operate the Culver’s, just as he has done with the one off of Thornydale Road.

Tucsonans desire the eatery’s signature ButterBurger, malts and shakes, if its opening day is any indication.

Kolsrud said there was a line out the front door, and feeding the people wasn’t something that worried Kolsrud.

“I wanted to make sure the people were getting quality food,” he said. “If it was their first time, I wanted to make sure they had a good experience and wanted to come back.”

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