Arooga’s Grille House & Sports Bar, the casual Dauphin County restaurant chain known for its wings and wall-to-wall televisions, will soon call Swatara Township home.
The Susquehanna Township-based chain has purchased a nearly 23,000-square-foot building in the 1500 block of South 19th Street in Swatara Township.
The plan is to move the company’s headquarters in the fourth quarter, said Gary Huether Jr., the chain’s president and co-founder.
Arooga’s paid $755,000 for the property, according to county deed records.
It expects to spend at least $1 million on fitout of the facility, which will house corporate offices, a franchise training site and the company’s commissary that produces several of the brand’s signature items and sauces.
The test kitchen and training area will be like a mini-Arooga’s location, complete with an eight-table restaurant area and small bar to simulate the experience for new franchisees. That training currently is done in existing restaurants.
The company, which will open its 10th corporate location in Lancaster County in late August, has been quickly expanding its roster of East Coast franchisees after inking its first deal last year.
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“This will allow us to streamline training and testing of our products,” Huether said of the space, which he had been seeking over the last few years.
The need was a smaller manufacturing facility in the Harrisburg area with connected office space, he said. The goal was 20,000 to 30,000 square feet.
As the company continues to expand its store network, which could go west in the near future, Huether said it could look to purchase additional real estate to help address future training needs.
“I don’t know that number yet,” he said of how many locations might prompt another facility purchase.
The Mohegan Tribe, the first franchisee, is currently building its second Arooga’s location, this one in Rhode Island. The first was in Connecticut.
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“The headquarters is definitely the No. 1 priority,” Huether said. “It will make everything much more efficient. No. 2 is getting our franchisees open.”
Arooga’s still intends to open one or two corporate locations per year, preferably within its Central Pennsylvania footprint, he said: “We could do two or three more in Lancaster County. And the other side of York County is an option.”
Nik Sgagias from NAI CIR handled the transaction.
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