Shoney’s Is Back, and Better Than Ever, in Haywood County
In 2018, residents of Haywood County in North Carolina can finally dine again at Shoney’s after a 4-year hiatus.
Franchise owner Gary Lowe ran his previous Haywood County Shoney’s for 35 years before the site was acquired to make way for an interchange at exit 104 of U.S. 23-74. Finding a new location over the past few years proved to be a challenge for Lowe.
Lowe, 75, worried he would never find the right spot to open a new Shoney’s, as friends and fans alike continuously asked him when the beloved dining destination would return to Haywood County.
“Either the property was too high or it was not the right location. All the great locations in Haywood County are already taken,” said Lowe.
This past spring though, Lowe finally found the perfect location for his new venture– a 2.5-acre tract on the outskirts of Waynesville along the Old Asheville Highway between Lowe’s Home Improvement and Junaluska Animal Hospital. Lowe purchased the property for $350,000. Because of its mountainous location (the lot sits on a knoll), extensive grading to the land will be required to begin construction. Lowe knows the investment will be sizeable, but he seems confident in the project.
This new 150-seat Shoney’s will create 60 new jobs in Haywood County. The restaurant will serve alcohol in a designated area of the building– a new development for both Shoney’s nationwide and restaurants in the Waynesville area.
Lowe credits much of his success to his business partner, Roger Defibaugh. Defibaugh manages most of the day-to-day operations at Lowe’s other Shoney’s location in Franklin and will resume that role in Haywood as well.
Founded 70 years ago, Shoney’s has been feeding hungry Americans across the US ever since and now boasts locations in 17 states. Located primarily throughout the Southeast, Shoney’s was beloved in Haywood County, and no restaurant has inspired similar devotion during its 4-year absence.
“The thing that really motivated me is that nothing has come in to take its place. So that customer is still there,” Lowe said.
The new Shoney’s, Lowe hopes, will open by late spring.