The wait is over: Williamsburg’s first Popeyes opened its doors Friday morning.
The fried chicken fast food franchise opened at a new freestanding building at 1500 Richmond Road, across the street from Discount Tire, in front of Aldi. Carl Gorospe, restaurant franchisee, said this is his 15th Popeyes location in the Norfolk market and his first in the area.
“We were always contemplating on putting a store here in Williamsburg, but we never got the opportunity, so this was one opportunity for us to open one,” Gorospe said.
The 3,500-square-foot restaurant is staffed by 45 employees, he said, and is larger than a typical Popeyes restaurant. Gorospe said the Williamsburg restaurant is modeled after the company’s prototype restaurant concept and offers more internal and external decorative elements.
“Obviously, with the bricks, we had to comply with the city. They wanted a colonial feeling and that was based on the architectural code of Williamsburg,” he said. “Internally, when they say prototype, it’s everything from the seating to the decor all the way to the equipment in the back.”
Franchise owner Shahid Hashmi originally said the restaurant was projected to open in early February, but delays pushed the opening into April. Gorospe said these delays were partially due to alterations mandated by building inspectors.
But the mystery of what will go in the building next door lingers. The 4,500-square-foot building, also owned by Hashmi, will house three tenants, but there are no concrete plans for who they will be.
Gorospe said the building offers three 1,500-square-foot spaces for retailers and that he has received tentative interest from a Cuban restaurant for one of the spaces, but that the lease hasn’t been finalized.
“So far, we had one tenant who was trying to work on the lease,” Gorospe said. “Other than that, there’s some here and there that have been inquiring, but nothing concrete. It’s open to any commercial, we don’t have any restrictions.”
The Williamsburg Popeyes restaurant is open Sunday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m, and is open until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The restaurant’s drive-thru is open Sunday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. until 10 p.m., and is open until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
York County-based business Williamsburg Jewelers celebrated its grand opening with a reception and ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday.
The business first opened its doors with a soft opening during the last week of January, owner Michael Fagan said. He said he has a background primarily in corporate and family-owned jewelry stores, but decided to strike out on his own.
“I just decided that at my age, I probably should’ve opened by own jewelry store 20 years ago, but I didn’t want to look on this regret not doing it, so here I am,” he said. “I had already made some relationships with some great vendors that make really unique, one-of-a-kind items, and I thought ‘this is probably the perfect storm for me to be able to create a jewelry store experience that no one’s ever seen before.’”
Along with a varied selection of rings, watches, necklaces and more, the store also offers a consignment program for customers to participate in, Fagan said. Another highlight is the store’s fundraising table, where customers can take a piece of costume jewelry in exchange for a $5 donation to a different local charitable cause each month.
All donations collected during April will go toward Williamsburg Kiwanis, he said. Next month, Fagan said all proceeds from the fundraising table will be donated to Jared Antle and his family.
Williamsburg Jewelers is at 2023 Richmond Road Suite E. The store is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, visit williamsburgjewelers.com.
Arriaza can be reached at 757-790-9313 or on Twitter @rodrigoarriaza0.