Slim Chickens will soon open in Wesley Chapel, and the chicken chain will then kick off a plan to open a total of 23 stores in the five-county Tampa Bay area of Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando and Polk, according to franchisee Charlie Blumberg.
Blumberg, a Tampa Bay resident, says the Wesley Chapel store should be ready to open Aug. 24. Then the franchisee and his partners have plans for the rest of the stores, including another store in Pasco at New Port Richey.
The Arkansas-based chain has about 200 locations from Washington State to MacDill Air Force Base. Formed in 2003, the restaurant company serves chicken tenders, wings, chicken waffles and more.
The Wesley Chapel store will be the first store open to the general public in the five-county Tampa Bay area.
The Wesley Chapel plans come as Slim Chickens kicks off plans for national expansion. Most of Florida's stores are in the Panhandle, but in January, east Manatee County got a store at 14675 State Road 70. Another franchisee plans to soon open a Sarasota location at 4096 Jenkins Plaza. In total, 15 stores are planned to open soon from Indianapolis to Meridian, Idaho.
Tampa Bay attracted Blumberg and his partners because "(the market) continues to explode. Tampa is not unknown to us. … It felt like a good fit for us."
Blumberg says the group had been scouting the location in Wesley Chapel since late 2020.
The restaurant plans to hire between 90 to 100 people at the location.