Businesses across the country faced difficulties relating to the novel coronavirus pandemic. When restaurants closed indoor dining after Gov. Henry McMaster’s executive order this spring, many were expecting to reopen. Most did.
For the IHOP on Bypass 72 very little information has been available, but hope for a return of the restaurant became brighter this week.
“We are reopening it as an IHOP,” Keith Moore, director of operations for Eagle’s Landing Restaurants, said.
Eagle’s Landing purchased 12 IHOP locations from franchisees that never reopened. Greenwood’s location was one of those restaurants. In fact, the pancake purveyor will reopen very soon.
“Probably within the next two to three weeks,” Moore said.
Moore said the company has been reopening its newly purchased restaurants one at a time.
Eagle’s Landing, based in Florence, is no stranger to IHOP restaurants. President and CEO, Mohamed Makawi, has been a franchise owner in South Carolina and North Carolina for over 23 years, according to his LinkedIn page.
“We are very pleased to learn that IHOP is reopening under new management,” Uptown Greenwood Manager Lara Hudson said in an email. “We have been very fortunate during the pandemic in Greenwood that we have only seen a few businesses close their doors all together, so IHOP reopening is a great sign for our community and the city.”
The 72 bypass location sat vacant for eight months with no hope of reopening. In late July, an overgrowth complaint was filed because of the tall grass that had grown on the property.
Some hope for the IHOP reopening fell short over the last month. Sun Holdings Inc., a franchisee based in Dallas, Texas, announced in October its purchase of 41 IHOP locations in Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina.
Max Jordan, marketing director for Sun Holdings, said the company purchased only one IHOP location in South Carolina. That location is in Spartanburg.
“We are in the process of opening the locations formerly owned by CFRA,” Jordan said.
IHOP’s corporate media relations responded to a request to comment on June 9 by passing along a quote from John Burke, CEO of South Carolina Investment XI Inc. which is the now-former IHOP franchisee for the Greenwood location.
“The location as temporarily closed and we look forward to welcoming guests back in soon,” Burke said.
Burke’s South Carolina Investment XI Inc. dissolved July 9, 2019, according to a search on the SC Secretary of State’s website.
Burke was listed as the registered agent for that corporation and another South Carolina Investment XII which dissolved Sept. 30, 2020.
Burke is the registered agent for three other corporations registered in the state: 1SoCar Investments LLC, Celestial Vibing LLC and Champs Chicken East LLC. Each of Burke’s entries has a different address associated with his name from Chapin to North Augusta to Myrtle Beach.
South Carolina Investment XI was incorporated in Georgia but dissolved Oct. 22. Thompson Singer, a law firm in Atlanta now known as Thompson Thompson Martin, was originally listed as the registered agent but Georgia records show they resigned in that capacity.
An attempt to reach Thompson for comment was unsuccessful.
As of September, the property was delinquent on its CPW bill by $13,672.92 according to financial information as part of the September 24 CPW board package. The document said IHOP’s last payment was Feb. 10 and CPW services were disconnected for nonpayment the week of June 29.
CPW General Manager Jeff Meredith said the new owner has paid a deposit toward the balance.
A reporter has also emailed the corporate media relations for IHOP, the primary means of communication between the company and reporters, but had not received responses until a final email was sent Sunday.
“This location was temporarily closed and is anticipated to reopen soon,” an IHOP spokesperson said in an email Monday. “Our franchisee looks forward to welcoming guest back.”