Arby’s final site plan approved by Planning and Zoning

Terry RogersBusiness, Headlines, Milford Headline Story

The former Shore Distributors location will soon be an Arby’s restaurant (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

At a recent Planning and Zoning meeting, the commission approved a final site plan for Arby’s. The fast food restaurant is planned for the former Shore Distributor’s location on Route 113.

“We are here requesting final site plan approval,” Timothy Metzner of Davis, Bowen & Friedel, said. “We have addressed all the comments and resubmitted as of last Monday, February 14, addressing the three remaining items about site lighting, and that was the last couple remaining items there. So that has been addressed as well. So as stated we received all our approvals and just request final site plan approval.”

The new restaurant will be approximately 3,000 square feet and will include a drive-thru as well as outdoor seating based on the plans. Entrances and exits into the parking area will be placed on both North Walnut Street and North Dupont Boulevard, allowing drivers to enter and exit from either side of the restaurant.

In August 2021, Masten Realty placed a small sign on a larger for sale sign that said, “Curly Fries?” stirring up excitement in Milford. Since Arby’s is known for their spicy curly fries, it seemed clear that they were looking at that location to open a new restaurant. This was confirmed by DelDOT soon after the sign was put up and the larger sign marked as “Sold by Wes.”

Shore Distributors, a plumbing, heating and electrical supply company, closed its Milford store in March 2021. It was initially founded in 1946 by John E. Morris, a mechanical contractor from Baltimore who struggled to find the supplies he needed for his business. The first Shore Distributors opened in downtown Salisbury and grew across the Eastern Shore.

This is not the first Arby’s to open in Milford. A former location at 697 North Dupont Boulevard, which is now Popeye’s closed several years ago. Arby’s was founded in Boardman, Ohio by Leroy and Forrest Raffel, brothers who named the restaurant based on their initials, “RB.” Following in the footsteps of Ray Kroc who built the McDonald’s dynasty, the Raffel brothers wanted to develop a similar franchise but needed to set themselves apart from McDonald’s.

Their first restaurant opened in 1964 selling their signature slow-cooked roast beef sandwiches. The Raffel brothers called the restaurant “R-B’s” and by 1967, they had over 100 R-B locations. Their signature roast beef sandwiches combined with extra-large iced tea were the main menu items. The day after the brothers took their company public, the stock market collapsed and, despite pulling stock options, were left without capital to expand. Banks took over, fired the employees at corporate headquarters and eliminated many franchisee services.

The Raffel’s regained control five months later and it took them another five years to show a profit. By 1975, there were more than 500 restaurants in the United States. After merging with Royal Crown Cola, the name became Arby’s. After the retirement of the Raffel’s in 1980, the company fell into decline until Leonard Roberts took over as CEO. He scaled back the menu and returned to focusing on items that could not be purchased at other fast food restaurants, including the famous roast beef while also adding deli-style sandwiches and roasted chicken.

Because this is a final site plan, it will not need to go before City Council. The unanimous vote from Planning and Zoning means that Arby’s can now go forward with construction of their new location.


Share this Post