Abrams targets Ahoskie

Published 10:35 am Tuesday, February 21, 2012

AHOSKIE – An Edgecombe County family that has built a reputation for preparing and serving good, old-fashioned Southern cuisine is expanding its chain of restaurants to Ahoskie.

At their meeting here Tuesday morning, members of the Ahoskie Town Council unanimously agreed to apply for a Building Reuse and Restoration Grant through the NC Rural Center, opening the door for Abrams BBQ to open a restaurant on Memorial Drive.

The Abrams family is in the process of closing a deal to purchase the old Popeyes (formerly Hardees) property. Jerry Abrams, the son of the company’s founder who was on hand at Tuesday’s meeting, said plans are to open the Ahoskie location early next year.

Abrams, based in Tarboro, traces its roots back to 1974. The family-owned business has branched out to Pinetops, Wilson and Scotland Neck. The restaurant is famous for its ‘Carolina style pork barbecue, chicken and ribs. It also serves seafood and features a daily buffet as well as serving breakfast, ranging from biscuits to a complete platter.

“We’ve been talking about opening a restaurant in Ahoskie for a while now,” said Abrams. “We’ve had some folks from Ahoskie come all the way to Tarboro to eat at our restaurant there, especially our seafood buffet. We see this new location in Ahoskie as good for the citizens of this area and for us as well.”

“I think you’ll do well here,” noted Councilman O.S. “Buck” Suiter Jr.

“I’m happy that you are interested in Ahoskie,” Councilwoman Elaine Myers said.

“There’s a lot of places to eat in Ahoskie, but none with our type of menu,” Abrams stated. “What we plan to do here will look like a brand new building at that location.”

According to the plan to be submitted to the Rural Center, Abrams will offer a minimum of 16 jobs, perhaps more if the family opts to offer its growing catering service out of the Ahoskie location.

Based on Rural Center criteria that offers $8,000 in grant funding per job, Abrams is eligible to receive a maximum grant of $128,000 to transform the old building into a profitable business.

The issue before Ahoskie’s Council on Tuesday was the local match the town must provide if the grant is accepted by the Rural Center. The town would be responsible for $12,800 – a five percent match ($6,400) to be applied to the building’s renovation and another five percent to cover the grant administration fees.

Prior to voting to accept those conditions, the council members discussed a return on the town’s investment, which Hammond said could be recouped over two to three years in property tax and sales tax revenue.

Councilman Malcolm Copeland motioned for approval of the grant application and the measure passed without objection.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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