Chipotle opening to bolster struggling northeast Mesa shopping center - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Chipotle opening to bolster struggling northeast Mesa shopping center

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Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2012 3:51 pm | Updated: 10:20 pm, Fri Apr 20, 2012.

A new Chipotle Mexican Grill, set to open May 23, brings the promise of strong business and delicious burritos to the Village at Las Sendas shopping center.

Although the center has been plagued with struggling businesses and empty lots, with a recovering economy comes the new restaurant that has local businesses and consumers excited.

“We are opening new restaurants because there is a demand for them,” said Danielle Winslow, Chipotle’s public relations and marketing consultant. “Coming out of the recession, we have seen six consecutive quarters of double-digit sales growth and our business is thriving.”

Though this Power and McDowell location will be just one of about 160 new Chipotle restaurants this year, the business brings promise to the Village at Las Sendas, especially for businesses like the Golden Spoon Frozen Yogurt Shoppe.

“We’ve had a lot of customers ask about the Chipotle,” store manager Kelsey Mays said. “It should bring in plenty of business from people who want dessert after eating there.”

While Chipotle Mexican Grill is not a sit-down restaurant, it’s also not the average fast-food establishment. It’s more “fast casual,” said marketing strategist Kennedy Turner.

“What sets us apart is that we not only serve food fast, but we serve good food fast,” Turner said. “Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO, started Chipotle with the idea that food served fast did not have to be a typical fast food experience.”

This is part of Chipotle’s commitment to “Food with Integrity,” Turner said, which means “we focus on sourcing the most sustainable ingredients possible — like naturally raised meats and local produce — to make sure our burritos, tacos and salads have the best flavors and the least impact on our environment.”

Chipotle’s unique business style will complement other food establishments in the Village at Las Sendas, like D’Vine Wine Bar & Bistro and Breadsmith Bakery. Other tenants include Cosmo Salon and Day Spa and Bella Blue Boutique.

Though Village at Las Sendas is near the Las Sendas and Red Mountain Ranch housing communities, the center has lost a few small businesses over the years.

Nobeus Property Management Inc., which is responsible for marketing and managing the Village at La Sendas, has been working to bring in new tenants.

“There’s been a lot of interest in the center,” said Nobeus leasing agent Tim Whipple. “But just like the rest of the valley, small businesses have struggled.”

While Nobeus has contacted local and national retailers who might be interested in the Village at Las Sendas, Whipple said that Chipotle contacted them about opening this location.

“They go through pretty extensive demographic study for their locations,” Whipple said. “We don’t know exactly what since we didn’t represent them, but ultimately they chose Las Sendas.”

The process has thus far taken about eight months, and Whipple said the process for businesses — from scouting the location to opening — takes anywhere from two months to a year.

While the exact details of Chipotle’s development process cannot be made public, Winslow said there are certain qualities the company looks for in new locations.

“We seek locations where we think we will get strong daytime and nighttime traffic to accommodate our lunch and dinner time business,” Winslow said. “We also look for locations that are near main street intersections and have a good blend of residential, retail, and possibly campus traffic.”

As construction continues and buzz grows, this new Chipotle looks promising not only for the company, but also for the community.

“We’re thrilled to finally be serving another portion of the Valley that did not have a Chipotle in its immediate community,” Turner said.

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