HIGHLAND | The co-founder and CEO of Culver’s was in town Friday to help welcome the latest edition to the popular restaurant chain in Highland.
Craig Culver, known for TV advertisement spots for his Culver’s restaurants, celebrated along with dignitaries from Highland and Griffith the grand opening for the new restaurant located on the southwest corner of Ridge Road and Cline Avenue.
There are more than 480 Culver’s restaurants across the country and Culver said the opening of a new one of is just as energizing as when the first store opened in Sauk City, Wis., in 1984.
“I don’t ever want to lose that feeling,” Culver said.
The restaurant known for frozen custard and ButterBurgers is the third for co-owners Fred Terpstra and his son-in-law Mike Wondaal, and its the first built from the ground up
The pair acquired the Culver’s in Lansing in 2006 and the Merrillville store a year later. The Highland opening is extra special for Terpstra, who has lived and done business in town for decades.
Terpstra was granted a tax abatement from the townm which meant spending “a lot of extra” money on the project, including the tear-down of the vacant gas station that was on the site. The site became available after a three-year search for a location in Highland.
Terpstra said there were three bids on the property and to make sure his was chosen, he paid $25,000 more than the asking prices.
“For any visitors coming into the town of Highland or the town of Griffith it’s a nice welcome,” Terpstra said. “We feel part of both towns. We border on Griffith and we are in Highland, but we have friends in both areas. It’s more of a regional-type store because we’re going to draw from Munster, Highland, Griffith and the surrounding communities.”
Highland Redevelopment Commissioner Cecile Petro said the site is ideal for Culver’s and will help improve that area of Ridge Road.
“This represents the type of business we want to see in Highland,” she said.
Culver said what Terpstra does that works – surrounding himself with good people – is the same as what the CEO's own family did when it started the business
“He’s a very passionate guy,” Culver said “I couldn’t be prouder.”