Local restaurant under new ownership after 38 yearsPublished at | Updated at
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Do you want to know what’s happening in the eastern Idaho business scene? We’ve got you covered. Here is a rundown of this week’s business news across the valley.
Restaurant owners entering new chapter after sale of Rexburg location
REXBURG — Serving tacos, crisp burritos and homestyle Mexican food is not the career Brian Larsen asked for. But after doing it for 38 years, it’s become a passion, and he’s going to miss the customers and friends he’s gained over the years.
The 60-year-old Rexburg man and his wife, Christine, have been the faces behind Taco Time at 274 South 2nd West in Rexburg since 1990. As of June 2022, the fast-food restaurant is under new ownership.
In a conversation with EastIdahoNews.com, Brian says there were multiple health challenges that forced him to sell the restaurant.
“I have rheumatoid arthritis,” he says, explaining that it’s exhausting to use his hands and be on his feet all day with that condition.
He sold the business to his former managers, Kevin and Candi McFadden, who have worked alongside him for the last 30 years.
Larsen got his start at Taco Time in 1984 when he was a student at Ricks College. His best friend, Scott Knowles, was managing it at the time and gave him the chance to earn some money after he returned from serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Christine was also working there, and when Larsen was hired, they met and quickly fell in love.
“I was just working part time the first two semesters, and then in April 1985 … the manager quit. I’d only worked there nine months, and the owners called me up and asked if me and my wife wanted to manage it,” Larsen recalls. “My wife had worked here since she was 14, so she actually had a lot more experience than I did at the time.”
Over the next five years, Brian went on to pursue a finance degree at Idaho State University. He was only 30 credits shy of graduating when he decided to drop out. He and his wife bought the restaurant from the previous owner in 1990, and Brian didn’t think he could go to school and run a restaurant at the same time.
“I always wanted to be an entrepreneur,” says Brian. “Taco Time food is so good, and I just fell in love with (the idea of having my own restaurant).”
And under his ownership, it became a family affair. His kids worked at Taco Time, and two of them met their spouses there, just like Brian and Christine did.
During his tenure, Brian says business was booming. The sales volume at the Rexburg store placed it in the top 15 for the franchise nationwide.
Building a successful business
World War II Navy Veteran Ron Fraedrick began selling his brand of Mexican fast food when he opened the first walk-up Taco Time in his hometown of Eugene, Oregon, in 1960, according to the company’s website. He opened three more over the next year.
Today, there are 226 locations nationwide and 74 in Canada. The Rexburg location opened sometime in the 1970s.
Larsen grew up working in a bakery with his dad. He’s grateful for the work ethic he acquired through that experience.
Though he’d never considered owning a restaurant, he was always interested in owning a business.
In 1997, Larsen and his wife demolished their home next to Taco Time to expand the drive-thru and seating capacity area inside. They also did a major upgrade to the cash register system.
“From there, we just took off,” he says. “Year to year, we grew (in sales).”
Tragedy struck in 2004 when an electrical fire burned the original building to the ground. The only thing left standing was the walls.
The Larsens built a new building in its place. On opening day, Brian says they couldn’t keep up with the number of customers.
“We had lines out the drive-thru and down the street. It was just crazy the support people gave us,” says Larsen. “I stood there and cried.”
It’s that kind of support from the community over the years that Larsen is going to miss most. He’s grateful to his customers, and he’s proud of the name he’s built over the last four decades.
“We built the store from just keeping the doors open (to a thriving business), so it’s a big success story, in my opinion,” he says.
He and his wife are looking forward to traveling together during their retirement and spending time with grandkids.
Kevin McFadden got his start working at Taco Time when he was a young college student, and he enjoys providing the same opportunity for the current generation.
He’s grateful for his friendship with the Larsens, and he’s excited to build on what they’ve worked hard to establish.
“We want to continue with what’s been successful, but of course, we want to strive to grow the business beyond what it’s been,” he says.
Two insurance companies merge to better serve customers
IDAHO FALLS – Teton Medicare and Generations Insurance of Idaho Falls are joining on April 1 to provide better insurance services to local residents.
Generations Insurance CEO Casey Peterson and Teton Medicare CEO Lee Wilson have agreed to work together and expand their offerings. Teton Medicare will remain the name of the agency throughout the migration.
With a combined clientele of about 7,500 people — the bulk of which are in Idaho — the merger will create a larger customer base and a wider range of products and services.
This move is expected to provide a significant boost to the local insurance industry and will position the new agency for continued growth and success.
Drive-thru coffee shop opening in Chubbuck
CHUBBUCK – Baristas at The Human Bean will begin pouring coffee and other specialty beverages at 5209 Yellowstone Avenue in Chubbuck.
Customers are invited to get a first taste of the drive-thru’s offerings beginning Thursday, March 30. The menu includes specialty-grade coffee, fruit smoothies, whole-leaf teas and hot breakfast items to go. Every item comes with a signature chocolate-covered espresso bean on top.
Owners Melissa and Theo Warner look forward to providing above-par products and exceptional customer service.
With a reputation for cheerful baristas and sustainably-sourced coffee, The Human Bean coffee company has grown from a single location in southern Oregon to a nationwide brand over the last 24 years.
With quarterly charity donations and many smaller local initiatives, the company strives to make staff, partners, vendors and customers feel valued.
The Human Bean will be open Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
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