Kentucky Fried Chicken, Sylva’s oldest fast food chain restaurant, closed unexpectedly on Nov. 21.
The Sylva location, owned by KFC franchise-holder Fulenwider Enterprises, based in Morganton, was open as usual the day prior and gave customers no advanced notice they would not be open the next day. Fulenwider closed another one of their KFC locations in a similar fashion, in Clayton, Ga., the week prior. Both locations had their signage quickly removed and real estate signs advertising the property were placed.
The Western Carolinian attempted to speak with someone at Fulenwider, but calls were not returned. The newspaper was able to reach a representative with KFC Media Relations, who said Fulenwider had notified them they were in the process of closing down franchise locations that have had poor business, but wished to apply to transfer the franchise rights to other locations in the future.
Fulenwider also has KFC locations in Franklin and Cherokee, both of which are still open.
Students at Western Carolina University were surprised about the local KFC closing.
“It is a huge shock, I didn’t see a warning or anything about it closing,” Kat Sumeraki said. ” It’s going to be hard to get that mashed potato bowl when I am craving it, now.”
Logan Porter agrees.
“They always had good sandwiches,” he said. “It always sucks to see another food option disappear from around Sylva. With this bad economy, small towns like Sylva feel the affect in harsh ways.”
KFC in Sylva is the fourth in a string of local restaurants to close in the past month. TKO Subs closed on Nov. 28, Annie’s Natural Bakery ended its retail operation on Main Street on Nov. 17 (they will continue their wholesale business out of Asheville and deliver to local stores) and Burger Shack closed Oct. 28.
(Staff Writer Tyler Auffhammer contributed to this report.)