News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012
GROVETOWN, Ga. -- A new, retro restaurant is set to open Thursday in Grovetown and the buzz is in the air.
"We're as ready as we can be. We're very excited, looking to have a great opening, and we've got people talking about camping out to be the first ones in tomorrow," said General Manager Mike Mulherin.
"It's a new design, so for the guests who have been coming to Steak 'n Shake for years and years and years, it's a little bit different look for them," said Store Manager Pat Leonard.
"A lot of buzz going on about it," Mulherin said.
"Steakburgers and milkshakes and milkshakes of all varieties. It's the best in the United States," Leonard said.
The franchise originally planned to hire 150 people to run the 24-hour diner.
"We're down to 130 employees, and I say that's down, but that's a lot of employees," Mulherin said.
And they were flooded with people looking for jobs.
"As of now, I think I'm right at 1,000 applications," Mulherin said. "People are excited about Steak 'n Shake and they want to be a part of a new restaurant -- first time in Augusta. People are excited and they also need to work."
Steak 'n Shake isn't the only new business moving to Columbia County. The Evans Fitness Club is set to open in December.
"Just about anything and everything in the fitness world you will find in this building," said Owner Mike Montarbo.
The 53,000 square foot gym is set in the heart of Evans. They plan to start hiring next month.
"Employment opportunities ranging from child care, sales staff, personal training staff, sports specific training staff," Montarbo said.
Columbia County has one of the lowest unemployment rates at 7.8 percent. That's lower than the 9.3 state average, but there are still thousands of people looking for work.
"In today's economy, everybody could use a job," Montarbo said.
And at Steak 'n Shake, those 130 lucky employees are ready to go to work.
"We're glad to be here, we're looking forward to seeing everybody. Please don't all show up on Thursday," Leonard joked.
Steak 'n Shake will not open 24 hours until January, but they do start serving up those steakburgers on Thursday.
Evans Fitness Club is set to open on Dec. 12. They're proud of the fact that almost 100 percent of their contractors and sub-contractors are local, creating even more jobs for this area.
News 12 will keep you posted when they start hiring. They plan to start with about 50 employees.