Gaining Ground

Tonto Apache Tribe expands business enterprises

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By the end of the summer of 2001, the Tonto Apache Tribe plans to have two new businesses up and operating one of them on the reservation, the other off.

One of the new ventures is a Sonic Drive-In fast-food restaurant, which the tribe plans to have open by late summer, just south of the Tonto Apache Market, Tribal Councilmember Ivan Smith said.

Tribal Chairman Vivian Burdette said the tribe picked that location so Sonic will be the first restaurant motorists see as they drive into town from the south.

"Most of the other fast-food chains are already in town," she said. "Several years ago we thought about Burger King, and of course Burger King came in. Then we thought about Jack-in-the-Box, and they came in.

"When the possibility of a Sonic Drive-in came up, tribal Councilmember Calvin Johnson who was on the economic development board researched the franchise and helped us decide to go with them."

Sonic's unique atmosphere features carhop service, and a menu that takes you back to days gone by. Nowhere else can you purchase an extra-long Cheese Coney, a steak sandwich, tater tots, onion rings a cherry limeade, a banana split and a hot fudge cake sundae.

The tribe's off-reservation business will be in the new Sawmill Crossing Shopping Center at Main Street and the Beeline Highway.

Marble Slab Creamery, which was founded in 1983 in Houston, Texas, is an ice cream and dessert franchise.

Marble Slab, says the corporation's Internet Web site, sells freshly-baked waffle cones, available in a variety of flavors ranging from vanilla cinnamon to dark chocolate with Butterfinger. The shop carries homemade ice cream flavors ranging from traditional favorites such as chocolate and strawberry to more exotic flavors such as cheesecake, chocolate Amaretto and butter pecan all blended with the customer's choice of "mixin's" on a frozen marble slab.

Other dessert alternatives, including non-fat frozen yogurt, smoothies, shakes and malts, sundaes, banana splits, ice cream cakes and pies, homemade cookies and brownies and fresh-baked apple pie, also will be available.

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