by Brandon Mayer
Winchester will see its first large chain fast food restaurant come to Town later this year.
That is when a new A&W location will open on Main Street West, tucked between the existing Foodland and Tim Hortons locations.
Rumours of the new location have caused a stir on social media in the past few months, with many residents asking on the What’s Up, Winchester? Facebook page if anyone knows what is going next to Foodland.
Comments from Facebook users have consistently stated that the new building will be an A&W, and a firm answer from Foodland owner Dan Pettigrew seemed to put the matter to rest.
The Times reached out directly to A&W for an answer, and received a confirmation that the building under construction on Main Street West is indeed an A&W. A spokesperson for A&W provided answers to some questions asked by the Times.
A&W reported that the new restaurant is planning to open before the end of 2021, some time around November/December. When asked “why choose Winchester?”, it was stated that this was part of the expansion of A&W operations in Ontario generally, with a “focus in recent years on small town Ontario.
There is population of over 5,300 people within a 10-minute drive of the Winchester location. The new A&W restaurant will draw traffic from the Town of Winchester itself as well as the surrounding rural communities and traffic travelling along Highway 31 and Highway 43″.
Two very positive aspects of the arrival of A&W were stressed by its spokesperson: “Our new Winchester location will serve delicious food and beverages to burger lovers in the community. It will also provide employment for approximately 30-40 people”.
Public opinion about the new franchise was mixed when the Times reached out on Facebook. Many residents were excited to have the news of the restaurant confirmed, praising both the quality of the food offered by A&W and the creation of local jobs. Others, however, were not so happy.
“I think as a small town we are lacking in things to do, not things to eat,” said Kelly Windle.
Donna Scheepers had a similar opinion, writing: “There are a lot of good restaurants in Winchester, why build another?”
Among those supporting the new addition to Winchester was Jack MacGregor who told the Times “I’m personally a big fan of A&W and I believe this will be a great opportunity for teenagers in our area to have availability to more jobs.”
Other residents who posted on Facebook could not be reached for comment. A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. is 100% Canadian owned and the nation’s second largest hamburger chain with over 1,000 locations coast-to-coast.