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Serving seconds: Tin Roof Tacos and Fanci Freez expand to Meridian

Fancy Freez owner Bill Hawes working at the State Street store. Photo by Patrick Sweeney.

Fanci Freez owner Bill Hawes works at the State Street store. Photo by Patrick Sweeney.

Tin Roof Tacos and Fanci Freez are each opening their second stores at the new, 12,214-square-foot Northpointe Retail Plaza strip center that is just starting construction at Linder and McMillan roads in Meridian.

Tin Roof only opened its first taco shop in January 2016 in downtown Boise, while Fanci Freeze has been a one-store operation since its founding in 1947. Both Meridian stores are expected to open in late March or April.

The business aren’t related to each other, but the owners have come to know each other with their simultaneous expansions to the same new strip center.

Owners of both establishments relish the idea of the small strip center surrounded by neighborhoods.

“I’m a firm believer we want to be part of a neighborhood,” said Susan Loyd, who with her sister Sandy Broun own Tin Roof Tacos on Broadway. “We don’t want to be in a large shopping center.”

Sisters Sandy Broun (left) and Susan Loyd plan to open their second Tin Roof Tacos in Meridian in spring. Photo courtesy of Susan Loyd.

Sisters Sandy Broun (left) and Susan Loyd plan to open their second Tin Roof Tacos in Meridian in spring. Photo courtesy of Susan Loyd.

Fanci Freez has always been a neighborhood operation at 14th and State streets, and new owner Bill Hawes wants to continue that dynamic in Meridian. The Meridian location, however, will be a strip-mall setting with indoor seating. The original 1950s Fanci Freez has a walk-up counter, outdoor tables, and neon ambience. Hawes wants to incorporate a walk-up window in Meridian.

Hawes bought Fanci Freez in February after selling his share of a franchise group that owns 34 Five Guys Burgers and Fries shops in Idaho, Utah, California and Oklahoma.  Hawes said prior Fanci Freez owner Chris Bauer had intended to open a second store in Meridian.

“A friend told me Fanci Freez might become available,” Hawes said. “I wanted to find a concept that was expandable.”

Hawes might open more Fanci Freez shops.

“We’re open to it,” Hawes said. “I want to see how this one goes.”

The Tin Roof sisters may also go beyond two stores but they, too, will wait to see how Meridian works out.

“We don’t want to grow too fast,” Loyd said. “We don’t want to grow just to grow. We don’t have any goals to meet. Our only goal is to make sure our customers are happy.”

The Tin Roof Tacos in Meridian will do kitchen prep work for both stores, Loyd said. The Meridian store will be similar to the Boise store but slightly larger, with capacity for 75 people rather than the 60 in Boise.

“We always had in the back of our mind that a second store might come along but it was not an ambition,” Loyd said. “We had a lot of requests for Meridian from people coming from Meridian.”

Montana & Idaho Community Development Corp. financed both Tin Roof shops for a combined $200,000. The Missoula, Mont., lender specializes in providing seed funding for promising “nearly bankable” small business that can’t get other financing.

Dave Glaser,  president of Montana & Idahao CDC, said banks typically want start-up businesses to be open for two years before offering financing.

“Successful businesses aren’t always bankable,” said Glaser. “They have not been in business for two years. That’s the magic number in finance.”

Banks didn’t offer Tin Roof financing when they applied for both stores, but Glaser and Loyd said Northwest Bank is refinancing the original Tin Roof Tacos loan from Montana & Idaho CDC.

About Teya Vitu

Teya Vitu is an Idaho Business Review reporter, covering commercial real estate, construction, transportation and whatever else may intrigue him in the moment. Join me on Twitter at @IBR_TeyaVitu.