facebooktwitterRSS
- Advertisement -
  • Most Commentedmost commented up
  • Most Emailedmost emailed up
  • Popularmost popular up
- Advertisement -
 

« News Home

Arby's celebrates 49 years



Published: Mon, July 22, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

photo

The fast-food chain that started in Boardman celebrates its 49th anniversary Tuesday

ARBY’S HISTORY

1964: Brothers Leroy and Forrest Raffel of New Castle, Pa., open the first Arby’s restaurant July 23 in Boardman. They wanted to name it “Big Tex” but discovered there already was a business in Akron with that name. Arby’s came from the first letters of the phrase Raffel Brothers, RB. By 1967, there were 150 outlets open.

1971: Kansas City suit seeks $4,250,000 from Arby’s in February. Later that year, Arby’s voluntarily goes bankrupt. The company reorganizes and in June 1975 breaks ground for a newly designed store on U.S. Route 224 in Boardman.

1976: By April, Arby’s sets new first-quarter records. Royal Crown Cola buys a controlling interest, 51 percent, of Arby’s in September. Later that month, construction of the new Arby’s headquarters begins on Belmont Avenue. It is dedicated Aug. 4, 1977.

1977: Arby’s sales hit $300 million, and the stores on Belmont Avenue and Route 224 are among the top 10 in sales nationwide.

1978: The Raffel brothers announce their retirement in December.

1980: Arby’s headquarters moves to Atlanta in February. The Arby’s in Kilcawley Center at Youngstown State University opens its doors in September.

1981: The first international Arby’s opens in Japan.

1987: The national headquarters moves to Miami in June.

1989: Arby’s begins accepting credit cards in August.

1991: The chain introduces more healthful options that include salads and sandwiches under 300 calories.

1994: Arby’s becomes the first chain to ban smoking inside.

2008: Arby’s merges with Wendy’s International Inc.

2011: Arby’s is acquired by Rourk Capital Group in Atlanta.

By Josh Stipanovich | jstipanovich@vindy.com

BOARDMAN

Over the last 20 years, Patrice and Jeff Harvey still get the occasional customers who come in with stories of the original Arby’s.

One person, they recalled, was a part of the team who designed the restaurant that opened its doors to the public under the ownership of the Raffel brothers, Leroy and Forrest, on July 23, 1964, on U.S. Route 224.

Another was someone who attended the grand opening, and others are former students of the neighboring school who used to go there to buy a bun for a nickel.

“It’s amazing the number of people who were around, though, that still come in and say, ‘Oh yeah. I remember this when,’” Jeff said.

The Harveys’ own Wild Birds Unlimited, the bird- supply store that operates from the same building in which the Raffel brothers did 49 years ago.

While the inside has been entirely redesigned, there are still vague inklings of when roast beef was cooking in a glass-walled rotisserie.

The original electrical box and freezer are still intact but not operating. Down the hall from the freezer is the Harveys’ office, and on the north wall sit shelves with masking tape that barely read 16-ounce, medium and large lids.

“The old Arby’s used to have a tiled bowl in the center of the back room. Somebody from Arby’s headquarters had come over, and they wanted to see it, and it’s not there,” Patrice said. “And I had to actually take him back there to prove there are no tiles on that back floor.”

About 40 yards down the road, on the opposite side of Route 224, is where the new original Arby’s is located and has been since 1975.

Inside, several old photographs — framed and hung on the walls — paint a picture of the rich history of the now successful fast-food chain that started in the Mahoning Valley.

And that history is still used as a pitch during the interview process, said Charlene Bailey, general manager of the Arby’s on 224. “We’re proud of it,” Bailey said.

She said though time has passed, some customers still come in and don’t know of the Valley’s near 50-year-old secret.

Jessica Breese, assistant manager of the 224 location, said Arby’s has been trying to buy back the original store for years so they could turn it into a museum.

The fast-food chain is celebrating 49 years Tuesday and will be selling its Classic Roast Beef Sandwich for 64 cents.

“I’m actually pleased to see that success,” said Leroy Raffel, 86, who now lives in Florida.

Lisa Jablon, of Hunter Public Relations, said details for the chain’s 50th anniversary are already being figured out, but she refused to say what they are.


Comments

1michael1757(291 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

I heard the first letter's of the word's spelled,Arby's Roast Beef Youngstown Store.ARBYS.

Suggest removal:

2Georgio(26 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

The Belmont store opened in the 60's, I ate there many times. I moved from Youngstown in 1970 so the 1977 date of the store opening is incorrect.

Suggest removal:

3msweetwood(162 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

Georgio:

Please note the 1977 date is for the headquarters on Belmont, not the store.

Mark Sweetwood
Managing Editor

Suggest removal:

4card64inmyrtle(26 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

I can remember being one of the first to be served an Arby, watching them slice that beautiful beef off the spit. If I remember correctly they were 39 cents and they would run specials 3 for a buck. They were so big you couldn't eat a whole one, and the arbys sauce was so spicy and tangy, not like it taste today. We would drive over from Canfield just to enjoy one of these sandwiches.......wish we could bring back 1964.....lol

Suggest removal:

5Roland_Martin(24 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

Fun fact:

Last summer, the Arby's location at Kilcawley Center on YSU's campus closed.

Little did people know that this was the only Arby's location in the country that you could purchase and enjoy a Coca-Cola product, as all other Arby's were under contract with Pepsi, but YSU's coke contract superseded that.

So with the closing of the location, we lost the only Arby's establishment in which you could enjoy a Coca-Cola fountain beverage with your roast beef sandwich and side of mozzarella sticks.

Suggest removal:

6republicanRick(1248 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

The mocha shake was supposedly originated by an Ursuline student who was screwing around with his shift mates one slow night at Arby's and dumped some coffee beans into a milkshake and ground it up in the mixmaster. It proved so popular they added it to the menu where it still is today. Wonder if the Ursuline kid ever got royalties from his experiment.

Wonder who the kid is. He would have to be in his 60's and maybe still living in town.

Suggest removal:

7Georgio(26 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

Mark Sweetwood:

Do you know the year the Belmont store opened?

Suggest removal:

8paulydel(1324 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

Myself and the guy I was working for was friends and a former employee of Raffle Brothers. We installed the walk in freezer in the first store and was inside before they opened the doors to customers. I still like going to Arbys and I'm glad they are still around. Happy Birthday Arbys.

Suggest removal:

9msweetwood(162 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

According to Arby's officials: "That was Arby's second store and it opened August 31, 1965."

Thanks for keeping us on our toes on this one!

Mark Sweetwood
Managing Editor

Suggest removal:


News
Opinion
Entertainment
Sports
Marketplace
Classifieds
Records
Discussions
Community
Help
Forms
Neighbors

HomeTerms of UsePrivacy StatementAdvertiseStaff DirectoryHelp
© 2014 Vindy.com. All rights reserved. A service of The Vindicator.
107 Vindicator Square. Youngstown, OH 44503

Phone Main: 330.747.1471 • Interactive Advertising: 330.740.2955 • Classified Advertising: 330.746.6565
Sponsored Links: Vindy Wheels | Vindy Jobs | Vindy Homes