Sunday, November 19, 2017
Business

Investment firm buys Ker's WingHouse

RECOMMENDED READING


NFL player-turned-restaurant chieftain Crawford Ker is selling his Largo-based sports-themed restaurant chain Ker's WingHouse to investors who have aggressive expansion plans on the menu.

Third Lake Capital, an investment vehicle created a year ago by the family of Ashley Furniture founder Ron Wanek, is buying all 24 stores in the chain, Third Lake CEO Ken Jones confirmed Thursday.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

However, Jones indicated one estimated sales price cited in the media was inaccurate. He declined to elaborate.

Ker will remain on board as CEO.

An all-American offensive lineman at the University of Florida, Ker played for the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos in the NFL.

After leaving the NFL, in 1994 he bought a Largo restaurant called Knockers, a knockoff of Hooters, the popular nationwide restaurant chain that started in Clearwater. Like Hooters, Knockers was known for its chicken wings and busty waitresses in shiny nylon shorts.

Ker's WingHouse stuck with the theme, with its website saying its "main attraction … is our version of 'The Girl Next Door,' the World Famous WingHouse Girls."

Third Lake isn't planning any changes.

"The food, the menu, the decor, the brand, the management is all staying in place," said Jones, who may be best known as CEO of the host committee that organized the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa. "Crawford has build a very strong brand over the last 20 years. He's done a fantastic job. … We'll be good stewards of the brand."

Beyond imminent plans to open a 25th Ker's WingHouse location, Third Lake intends to invest millions in opening an unspecified number of stores throughout Florida and then expanding outside the state.

"Within the next one to five years, our goal is to have a significant expansion within the state of Florida," Jones said.

Third Lake, which Jones described as a "buy-and-hold" operation, often doesn't disclose its investments. Although it has other investments in the hospitality industry, this marks its first acquisition of a restaurant chain, he said.

Comments

Stolen car crashes in St. Pete, leaving passenger, 15, with life threatening injuries

Two boys in a stolen car struck a dip in the roadway and crashed into a tree, leaving the 15-year-old passenger with life-threatening injuries, St. Petersburg police said.The crash occurred about 11:25 a.m. Sunday as the car sped west on 11th Avenue ...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Search suspended for missing Cortez boater who left from Egmont Key

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search for a missing 63-year-old boater on Sunday evening, two days after he and his dog were reported missing 5 miles northwest of Mead Point, just inland from Anna Maria Island.On Friday, Fraser Horne of Cortez le...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Parents, children welcome downsized MOSI in Tampa

Parents, children welcome downsized MOSI in Tampa

TAMPA — Avery, 6, slid his sneakers up the side of 200-pound rubber tire from the space shuttle Columbia and sat on top.His father, Ilder Jeannot, called for him to get off of it — usually climbing on museum displays is frowned upon. But in the new M...
Published: 11/18/17
Updated: 11/19/17
Sunday Conversation: Tona Bell invites customers to enjoy a ‘digital detox’

Sunday Conversation: Tona Bell invites customers to enjoy a ‘digital detox’

Like so many small businesses, Saturday will represent a special day for Paper Seahorse owner Tona Bell. Bell’s cozy bungalow business at 211 S Howard features paper and stationery, specialty pens, vintage typewriters and crafts classes. It will offe...
Published: 11/17/17
Updated: 11/19/17
Florida jobs recover from Irma, unemployment rate drops

Florida jobs recover from Irma, unemployment rate drops

As economists predicted, the tough hit that Florida jobs took from Hurricane Irma was not long-lived. The state added 125,300 jobs in October, almost breaking even from the 127,400 jobs it lost in September. According to state figures released Friday...
Published: 11/17/17
Apple will postpone release of  HomePod

Apple will postpone release of HomePod

The Washington PostApple said Friday that it’s pushing back its plans for a Siri-powered smart speaker until sometime early next year.The HomePod speaker was announced in June, with an initial launch date set for December. Apple said that its smart s...
Published: 11/17/17
HSN, Good Housekeeping pick five contest finalists

HSN, Good Housekeeping pick five contest finalists

ST. PETERSBURG — Good Housekeeping and St. Petersburg-based HSN have chosen five finalists for their entrepreneur competition. The partners are searching for a novel item to promote as endorsed by the Good Housekeeping Seal, denoting reliability and ...
Published: 11/17/17
Trigaux: State of Tampa Bay startups? Disconnected we falter but there’s a plan to fix that

Trigaux: State of Tampa Bay startups? Disconnected we falter but there’s a plan to fix that

How are we doing?That was the Big Question posed more than once this past week in Tampa Bay. First, the Tampa Bay Partnership and USF debuted in-depth and new ways to measure Tampa Bay across a wide range of indicators to gauge whether we are gaining...
Published: 11/17/17
Tesla’s latest creation: An electric big rig that can travel 500 miles on a single charge

Tesla’s latest creation: An electric big rig that can travel 500 miles on a single charge

The main course was expected: a pair of sleek silver Tesla semi-trucks that get 500 miles per charge, go from zero to 60 mph in five seconds and — if the hype is to be believed — promise to single-handedly transform the commercial trucking industry.B...
Published: 11/17/17
We ask Tampa Bay startup leaders how best to advance entrepreneurial ecosystem

We ask Tampa Bay startup leaders how best to advance entrepreneurial ecosystem

What one thing could be added to the Tampa Bay startup community to help it grow and prosper?The Tampa Bay Times reached out to these leading area entrepreneurs and startup experts for answers.RELATED COVERAGE: Trigaux: State of Tampa Bay startups? D...
Published: 11/17/17