Ottumwa residents were taken by surprise last week when the Wendy's restaurant on Albia Road shut down, seemingly overnight.
Wendy's was open for business Thursday, September 13, but was closed the next, with the drive-through menu taken down, closed signs in the windows and the chairs put up on tables inside. The sudden closing has left many wondering what happened, including officials in Ottumwa.
"Quite honestly, we didn't have any notice at all," said David Barajas, Executive Director of the Ottumwa Economic Development Corporation. "I received a phone call from our city administrator on Friday afternoon telling me that Wendy's had closed their doors. I took a drive over there and I had an opportunity to speak with the district manager and the store manager about the closing. They were just notified, they said, the night before from corporate office, it was a corporate decision and I told them, timing-wise, it's too bad, because we have a number of things happening in Ottumwa and throughout the region."
A few of those things include the opening of Kohl's, which is scheduled for September 26, and the new ownership of the Quincy Place Mall, which promises to bring new stores and shopping attractions to the area. All those projects considered, Barajas reached out to the other restaurants and businesses in the Ottumwa area and said they should all "hang in there" and they will soon be glad they did.
As far as a replacement for Wendy's, Barajas said they have the contact information of the individual that owns the property and the city is already reaching out to restaurants that would be new to Ottumwa to open at Wendy's location.