Historic Krystal chain sees change in ownership

Historic Krystal chain sees change in ownership

March 24th, 2012 in Opinion Free Press

"Seasoned" Chattanoogans may remember the Great Depression of the 1930s and a popular song that asked dolefully, "Brother, can you spare a dime?"

But they may also recall the optimism of Chattanoogans Rody Davenport Jr. and partner J. Glenn Sherrill.

They had the courage to open a new business in a pessimistic time.

In 1932, they founded a restaurant called Krystal, at the corner of Seventh and Cherry streets. Their trademark was a big, shiny silver ball. And, most appropriately for that economic period, they featured a unique little square hamburger with onions and pickles -- that cost just 5 cents!

They obviously had a great idea.

Krystal grew throughout Chattanooga and eventually into 11 states, employing more than 6,500 people and feeding millions of Krystal hamburger lovers.

Now Krystal is in the news again because CEO Fred Exum has announced the sale of the chain to Atlanta-based Argonne Capital Group for an estimated $175 million!

Fortunately, plans call for Krystal's headquarters to remain in Chattanooga.

Most of us enjoy success stories, and Krystal surely is one.