Meals on Wheels

Posted
Monday August 2, 2010

WILMINGTON -- Wahoo’s Eatery in Wilmington along Route 9 is hitting the road with new approach to food -- going mobile.

ZooHoo’s, a trailer version of the popular southern Vermont restaurant, is now available for franchise purchase after a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday.

Owners Karen and Adam Grinold, who have owned and operated the restaurant for a decade, were joined by Gov. James Douglas and barbecue champion Myron Mixon for the official announcement of the new business venture.

"We’re either onto something or complete idiots," said Adam Grinold. "Each town has its own by-laws which could be hiccups for potential new owners, but the interest is there."

Mixon, star of TLC’s Pitmasters, who was in Wilmington to help promote his appearance at the fifth annual Taste of the Deerfield Valley Sept. 10-12, said it was encouraging to see people willing to make the investment in their community.

"Big events draw in new people and new money," he said.

Mixon, an 11-time national barbecue champion, said the Grinolds are a prime example of living the American Dream.

"It’s hard to find something you love and make money doing it," he said. "When you do though, it sure is sweet."

Douglas said although it’s a tough economic time, it’s new entrepreneurs like the Grinolds who provide sustainable contributions to the Green Mountain State’s economy.

"They have tremendous potential with connecting to local farmers and food providers through the Vermont Fresh Network," Douglas said. "Their creativity could make them the next Ben and Jerry’s."

Adam Grinold said he plans to take the demonstration model of the franchise trailer to area colleges and food and trade shows this fall.

Prices for the franchises start at $69,000 and can vary greatly depending on what the new owner wants to serve, he said.

"Some equipment, like an industrial ice-cream maker, can be more than $100,000," he said.

As part of the agreement to purchase a franchise, the new owner will keep the menu the same at each location and will use the Vermont Fresh Network, a partnership between local farmers and restaurants, to get ingredients, he said.

Grinold said he’s cautiously optimistic about the new venture with four people already interested in buying into the franchise.

Josh Stilts can be reached at jstilts@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311 ext. 273.


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